No mass move for Destiny followers

The Nelson Mail, New Zealand/October 31, 2008

The leader of Nelson's Destiny Church is rejecting claims that members of his congregation are being asked to sell their houses and move to Auckland to help fund a mega-complex the church is planning in South Auckland.

Destiny's national head, self-styled Bishop Brian Tamaki, told people at the "Decade of Destiny" celebrations in Auckland last weekend that the church had bought a 4ha property, with the possibility of buying a further 4ha "right in the heart" of New Zealand's biggest city.

A retirement village, a marae, a Pacific Island centre, schools, a hospital and a 5000-seat auditorium are planned for the Manukau site. Destiny is denying claims that the complex will be a "walled city".

Several people have contacted the Nelson Mail this week worried about Destiny's plans. One Nelson man expressed concern that a family member was considering selling several Nelson properties and moving to Auckland to help finance the "Destiny city".

The man, who did not want to be named for fear of a backlash from the church, said he was worried that members were being "manipulated" into giving their money.

However, the leader of Nelson's Destiny Church, Pastor Martin Daly, said from Auckland on Wednesday it was "misinformation" that church members were being asked to finance the centre.

"If anybody has got a misconception along those lines, I will be alleviating them and addressing them when I get back."

However, he said people with expertise in certain areas could move to the Auckland site and help, if that was what they felt "in their hearts".

Mr Daly said claims that Destiny churches throughout the country would close, leaving just one big church in Auckland, were also incorrect.

The Nelson church would remain and he would be staying in Nelson, he said.

Mr Daly said about $2 million had been raised from within the church as an initial deposit on the land.

Destiny spokeswoman Janine Cardno said Destiny had made a conditional offer on a Manukau property. Members had not been asked to sell their homes but to make a donation towards the complex.

If people wanted to sell their houses, buy another home in South Auckland and be involved in the ministry, that was their prerogative, she said.

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