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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 1 year for indecent assault upon several young girls and women.


The group was founded in 1969 by Tonay Kim, a Korean-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 Tonay Kim was jailed for almost a year on sexual abuse charges. He was convicted based on the testimony of his son and of a young woman 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. They also run deer and sheep farms as well as run charter/scenic flights from Greymouth.[3]

Their Christian Church Community Trust owns and operates a fixed-wing Cessna P210N Centurion aircraft, ZK-VIR, for Air West Coast Ltd. (http://nzcivair.blogspot.co.nz/2015/03/zk-vir-in-town.html). It was noted flying from Canterbury to West Coast on 28 September 2015.

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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70 news items

Otago Daily Times
Thu, 28 Apr 2016 21:41:13 -0700

An Environment Court judge has allowed a road closure to go ahead at the Gloriavale Christian Community after a deal was worked out allowing access to the nearby Haupiri River and public land - provided Gloriavale is not filmed. The Grey District ...

The Press

The Press
Sun, 28 Feb 2016 17:53:01 -0800

The Gloriavale Christian Community has opened up to defend its tax status as its assets reach more than $40 million. The community leaders took out a large advertisement in the Greymouth Star on Saturday after its financial statements were released online.

The Press

The Press
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 22:48:45 -0700

Police are still investigating allegations about the Gloriavale Christian Community but cannot comment on their progress. The investigation into the remote West Coast group began in April after allegations made in the media about abuse. Former members ...

Daily Mail

Daily Mail
Tue, 10 Mar 2015 22:53:50 -0700

The family, many of whose children were born in the Gloriavale Christian Community in Haupiri - on New Zealand's west coast - have moved 200 miles away to live with a 'normal' family as they begin reintegrating into society, the New Zealand Herald reports.


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 ...

The Dominion Post

The Dominion Post
Wed, 03 Jun 2015 10:01:21 -0700

The ongoing story of Gloriavale, the West Coast Christian cult, is a Gothic tale that makes for great winter Sunday night entertainment with a roast dinner under the belt, and a blazing fire. Before dinner it would ruin your appetite. It has enthralled ...


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 ...


Sun, 15 Nov 2015 18:03:45 -0800

Former TV3 current affairs programme Campbell Live has been cleared of a complaint it breached the privacy of senior members of the Gloriavale Christian Community. The Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) found that while the circumstances of the ...

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