18 Jun 2011

Maori women's league fights Destiny leadership bid

12:16 pm on 18 June 2011

Some senior members of the Maori Women's Welfare League are speaking out against an attempt by the wife of Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki to head the organisation.

Three branches of the league, set up by Destiny Church in Auckland, have nominated Hannah Tamaki for the league's presidency.

The league will elect a president for a three-year term in September.

A veteran member of the league, Denise Ewe, says its constitution is specific about being non-sectarian whereas Destiny Church puts religious beliefs first.

She says Destiny Church members are strongly represented in the league, and it could be a kind of takeover.

"I have concerns that the kaupapa of the Maori Women's Welfare League, which was formed 60 years ago, would change," she told Morning Report.

Ms Ewe says she wonders about the timing of the presidency bid and whether it is more about Destiny Church's political aspirations than the league.

Mrs Tamaki says she is passionate about working with Maori women and wants to offer them the services and capabilities she has.

Supporter Amelia Pupuke says there is no reason Mrs Tamaki should not reach out to the community through the league and use her 25 years' experience working with Maori women and families.