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Police investigate alleged assault after rainbow flag raised on Norfolk Pine tree outside Destiny Church in South Auckland

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The raising of a rainbow flag on a Norfolk Pine tree outside Destiny Church at Wiri in South Auckland this morning has led to an alleged assault being investigated by the police.

Police said initial inquiries suggest there was an altercation between a man and two occupants of a Druces Rd property at 4.20am after a man was observed hanging in a tree outside the property.

All that is left of the flag at the top of the Norfolk Pine tree outside Destiny Church is some strapping. Photo / Alex Burton
All that is left of the flag at the top of the Norfolk Pine tree outside Destiny Church is some strapping. Photo / Alex Burton

The incident follows the painting over of two rainbow crossings in the past week – one in Gisborne on Monday and the second at Karangahape Rd in Auckland on Thursday.

Two men, aged 46 and 36, and a 45-year-old woman have been charged with graffiti vandalism after the Gisborne crossing was painted white, and a fourth suspect has been identified.

Police are asking for those responsible for the second rainbow crossing attack, on Auckland’s Karangahape Rd, to come forward.

Video emerged of three people pouring white paint over the crossing, with police slamming it as an apparent “hate crime”.

On X (formerly Twitter) this morning, a South Auckland man and competitive tree climber, Zane Wedding, said a pride flag was raised on public property outside Destiny Church.

“This was done not to hate Destiny but so our Rainbow community knows they deserve to feel safe everywhere!! Unfortunately, Destiny were waiting at the bottom of the tree and assaulted me,” he alleged.

Two members of Destiny Church told the Herald this morning the flag was removed from the tree between 5.30am and 6am.

Police said inquiries are still under way to establish exactly what took place at Druces Rd, and whether an assault occurred, but confirmed there were no injuries reported as a result of the incident.

The Gisborne Destiny Church branch had said if the district’s mayor did not cancel a drag queen reading event at the town’s library the central city rainbow crossing on Gladstone Rd would be painted over.

A rainbow crossing on Karangahape Rd in Auckland was been painted over with white paint. Photo / John Nottage / Reddit
A rainbow crossing on Karangahape Rd in Auckland was been painted over with white paint. Photo / John Nottage / Reddit

The library event went ahead on Tuesday with about 350 protesters and counter-protesters gathered outside while the police monitored proceedings.

Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki took to social media to express his dismay at the return of the painted crossing.

“So the Mayor of Gisborne, a drag dancer by night, has already spent ratepayers [money] on repainting the rainbow crossing back over what we painted over yesterday,” Tamaki posted.

Brian Tamaki said he “doesn’t know” if his members were involved in the Karangahape Rd incident.





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