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Gloriavale Christian Community is a small Christian group based at Haupiri on the West Coast of the South Island in New Zealand. They were founded in the 1960s by Neville Cooper (Hopeful Christian), who in 1994 was jailed for 5 years for indecent assault upon several young girls and women.


The group was founded in 1969 by Cooper, an Australian-born evangelist who was invited to preach in New Zealand. He founded what became known as the Springbank Christian Community near Christchurch in the South Island. When this community grew too big for its property, the members bought land on the West Coast and shifted there over a period from 1991 to 1995. They named their new property in the Haupiri Valley "Gloriavale" and established the Gloriavale Christian Community. This property is about 60 km inland from Greymouth. In 1995 Neville Cooper was jailed for almost a year on sexual abuse charges. He was convicted on the testimony of his son and some young women who had fled the compound.[1]


Known by some outsiders as the "Cooperites", the group rejects this name and members refer to themselves only as Christians. Members of the community live a fundamentalist Christian life in accordance with their interpretation of the teachings of the New Testament. The community attempts to uphold the example of the first Christian church in Jerusalem (Acts 2:41-47) for its principles of sharing and holding all things in common. The group teaches that the only true way to salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ and obedience to the commands of God.[2]

The community earns its income from several ventures including dairying and the manufacture of gardening products made from sphagnum moss.[3]

Those who leave the community are shunned and denied contact with family members still remaining at Gloriavale.[4]

One Christian cult-watching group refers to Gloriavale as a "cult, both theologically and sociologically." It says that "Theologically this group is a cult of Christianity, as its theology -- as well as its practices based on that theology -- places it well outside the boundaries of the Christian faith."[5]


The community runs Gloriavale Christian Community School, a private coeducational composite (years 1-15) school with a roll of 127.[6] The school moved to the West Coast in 1990.[7]


  1. ^ Quilliam, Rebecca (23 April 2009). "Father tells of rescuing kids from West Coast cult". APN New Zealand. Retrieved 19 July 2014. 
  2. ^ What We Believe, Springbank, First Edition, The Eighth Month, 1989 (The book, researched and written by the group, sets out the way its members should live, what they should believe, and how they should behave. The book is never taken to replace the authority of the Bible, but is considered only to be guide to doctrines and beliefs.)
  3. ^ Brown, Giles (9 January 2010). "West Coast Christians in search for gas". Fairfax NZ. Retrieved 5 March 2012. 
  4. ^ "Sunday speaks to families who have recently fled Gloriavale". TVNZ. 19 April 2015. Retrieved 19 April 2015. 
  5. ^ "Gloriavale Christian Community at a Glance". Apologetics Index. Retrieved 2 May 2015. 
  6. ^ "Te Kete Ipurangi - Gloriavale Christian Community School". Ministry of Education. 
  7. ^ "Private School Review Report: Gloriavale Christian Community School". Education Review Office. November 2004. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Beale, Fleur (2009). Sins of the father: the long shadow of a religious cult. Dunedin. ISBN 978-1-877460-30-2. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°36′13″S 171°42′1.7″E / 42.60361°S 171.700472°E / -42.60361; 171.700472

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gloriavale_Christian_Community — Please support Wikipedia.
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878 news items


Thu, 30 Apr 2015 10:00:37 -0700

Gloriavale Christian Community, across from Lake Haupiri on the West Coast, where ex-members have spoken out about abuse. Gloriavale's men are "groomed" to have sex with underage girls and should not shoulder the blame, the granddaughter of the ...


Wed, 29 Apr 2015 10:00:15 -0700

An educational researcher has criticised Gloriavale Christian Community School for depriving young people of their human rights, and said it should be closed. Quality Public Education Coalition (QPEC) co-convenor Liz Gordon said she was concerned about ...

The Press

The Press
Wed, 29 Apr 2015 20:33:45 -0700

The West Coast's top police officer has paid a courtesy visit to Gloriavale Christian Community. West Coast area commander Inspector John Canning visited the 500-strong community at Lake Haupiri on Wednesday, telling the Greymouth Star it was a "social ...


Tue, 28 Apr 2015 09:52:30 -0700

Elijah Overcomer left the Gloriavale Christian community two years ago and is now happily living in Fairlie with his wife Rosanna and five children. The growing controversy and media interest surrounding Gloriavale will be allowing leaders of the ...


Thu, 30 Apr 2015 23:43:12 -0700

Elijah Overcomer says he'd go back to Gloriavale to try and change things from the inside. Fairlie resident Elijah Overcomer admits he would return to the West Coast commune Gloriavale if he could. "If I could go live there again I would because I ...

The Press

New Zealand Herald
Sun, 19 Apr 2015 09:14:25 -0700

Rosanna Overcomer took her three small children with her. She was pregnant with a fourth. Photo / TVNZ. Two young couples who quit the Gloriavale Christian Community have revealed what it was like living in the West Coast religious community, and why ...


Tue, 21 Apr 2015 14:22:30 -0700

Located near Lake Haupiri on the West Coast, the Gloriavale Christian Community has more than 500 members. Founded by Cooper in 1969 near Rangiora, it was originally known as the Springbank Christian Community. It moved to its current location in ...
New Zealand Herald
Thu, 16 Apr 2015 20:02:35 -0700

In preview material for this weekend's show, TVNZ says the families were told the world outside the Gloriavale Christian Community at Lake Haupiri, was full of evil. "But what they found shocked them. One young couple speak about how they were forced ...

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