Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki has released a book detailing the terrifying moment he was engulfed in flames during a petrol-fueled rubbish fire – and an out of body experience in which he heard the voice of his dead brother.
The self-anointed bishop has described clumps of singed hair falling from his head and his face as “burning like a steak on a barbecue”.
Last night Tamaki’s book, My Visit to the Edge of Paradise, was launched at a theatrical, festival-like celebration at Destiny Church’s Wiri base.
The event was complete with dazzling lighting, rap music, Harley Davidson motorcycles and “patched” members of a new Destiny movement.
Writing in his own words and under the shiny new title “Apostle Brian Tamaki”, the man who founded Destiny Church goes details the aftermath of lighting a pile of trees he had doused in petrol.
Tamaki was home alone at the South Auckland lifestyle block he owns with wife Hannah in March when he lit the pile and was immediately engulfed in a flash of flames.
He managed to get himself to the garden hose and ran water over his burnt arms, legs and face but received second degree burns to 33 per cent of his body.
“I became aware of clumps of my hair being hosed off my head, falling to the ground with a thud,” Tamaki wrote.
“I was beginning to realise along with the hair falling off, my face was burning like a steak on a barbecue.”
Wife Hannah phoned her husband just after Tamaki was injured, then called an ambulance and rushed home.
She said she “could have been widowed” by the frightening experience.
Tamaki also revealed he had an out of body experience on his way to hospital in the ambulance saying it was “indescribable in its effects”.
He said he heard the voice of his younger brother Douglas Tamaki who had passed away a year earlier.
The book launch last night coincided with the 20th anniversary celebrations of Destiny Church, which kicked off with a show more like a rock or rap concert than religious service.
The three-day event, “Tu Tangata – Stand Tall Stand Proud”, saw more than 3000 of the Destiny congregation gather with more food trucks and merchandise than your usual concert.
There were no comments blaming gays for earthquakes and no cash was thrown on to the stage.
But two gleaming Harley Davidson motorbikes flanked newly “patched” members of Tu Tangata.
The group will ride to Paremoremo Prison and Wiri Prison today to raise awareness and address the number of Maori behind bars.
Coffee table books marking the 20 years of Destiny, boxes of inspirational desk-top quotes, stylised Tu Tangata bibles and of course the Bishop/Apostle’s new book were all on sale.