Drag performers have filed a $2 million defamation lawsuit against Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki following protests against their library storytime events.

Sunita Torrance and Daniel Lockett, known by their stage names Coco and Erika Flash, lodged the claim at the High Court in Auckland this morning.

The legal claims against Destiny Church encompass allegations of breach of contract, conspiracy to injure, unlawful means conspiracy, and defamation.


Destiny Church has protested at LGBTQI+ events in recent months.

Torrance, accompanied by her barrister Christopher Griggs, arrived at court this morning to file the claim. Torrance stated that they were compelled to cancel their tour due to protests and threats from Destiny Church members. “Our rainbow storytime was a hit,” Torrance remarked, describing the “crusade against us and our act” as having a severe impact on her business.

Torrance’s performing partner, Erika Flash, has relocated to London because of the threats and cancellations of shows in New Zealand. “This is not just about business, this is about hate speech versus free speech,” Torrance asserted.

The lawsuit seeks just over $2 million plus costs from the defendants.

Haus of Flash Limited, the entertainment company behind the performers, indicated that the breach of contract pertains to the cancellation of booked shows, allegedly due to Tamaki and Destiny Church members.

Recently, an Upper Hutt drag king storytime event was cancelled following opposition from Destiny Church.

Haus of Flash provided examples of statements purportedly made by Tamaki and Destiny Church members, likening drag queen storytime to “the wolf dressed as granny waiting for [Little] Red Riding Hood”; calling it “foul predator behaviour”; and accusing it of “grooming” and “targeting our innocent kids with their filth.”

Destiny Church has previously faced legal action for anti-LGBTQI+ protests. Tamaki’s grandson-in-law, Ford O’Connor, pleaded guilty to vandalising the Karangahape Rd rainbow crossing in March. Additionally, three people were charged with defacing the Gisborne rainbow crossing following a protest by Destiny Church members outside a planned drag queen reading event in March.

Torrance and Lockett have created a Givealittle page to raise funds for the court action.

A spokesperson for Tamaki and Destiny Church stated they would issue a statement today.