The latest Reader’s Digest annual trust survey was released last Friday.

Sports people filled nine of the top ten positions in the people list, while politicians filled out much of the bottom of the 75 places. The magazine commented in their media release:

Our top most trusted individuals, a category which ranks 75 well-known New Zealanders, have one common trait – humility – while those at the lower end of the scale are perceived to be motivated by self interest.

It is notable, therefore, the “Bishop” Brian Tamaki is number 75 (below Ahmed Zaoui) and the only religious figure listed by name. “Religious ministers” come at number 26 out of 40 in the professions list – not that high, and sitting between “Tradesmen” and “Financial planners”. Interestingly “Marriage celebrants” come in the top ten, showing that more people are seeing marriage celebration as something that happens increasingly outside the church.

Religion did little better in the Charities section. The highest placed religious charity was Salvation Army at 12 out of 25. In commenting on the results in this section, Reader’s Digest said:

The results send a clear message: Kiwis are less likely to trust charities that have a political, ideological or religious agenda.

It is interesting to note that no other religious figure has a profile to match Tamaki. This is not surprising since he constantly seeks publicity, which is what his profile rests on – not humble Christian loving service his fellow human beings. He is more interested in self-aggrandising publicity stunts. Sadly this is the face of Christianity in New Zealand for those who do not know the Church first-hand. God have mercy.