Gloriavale ‘expose’ to screen worldwide

Gloriavale ‘expose’ to screen worldwide

|Greymouth Star| Subscription Only |

A new three-part investigation into Gloriavale will screen on TV One later this month.

The brand-new docuseries — Escaping Utopia — is fronted by journalist Melanie Reid, who went undercover there in 1994.

“I have done hundreds of television stories in the last two decades but this story more than any other has followed me,” Reid said in 2017.

The new series is being promoted by TV One as a worldwide premiere of its investigation into “New Zealand’s most extreme religious cult … and the true stories of people attempting to break free”.

“Escaping Utopia documents the intricate planning that goes into clandestine escapes from Gloriavale

— with unprecedented access to its inner workings, the unravelling of its leadership and the pursuit of justice by the group of passionate and dedicated people known as the Gloriavale Leavers’ Trust,” publicists say.

“Shocking new information is revealed from former and current members of the community who have never gone on the record before

— and who through their accounts, seek answers to some of the most crucial questions in the dark history of Gloriavale.”

A trailer shows beautiful drone images of the area, and people talking about what they were told about the outside world, and the abuse there. It premieres on Sunday, March 24 at 8.30pm on TVNZ 1 and TVNZ+ and continues on Monday, March 25 and Tuesday, March 26.

It is produced by Warner Bros International Television Production New Zealand, funded by the Government’s Premium Productions for International Audiences Fund and supported by NZ on Air.

Gloriavale was founded in 1969 by travelling evangelist Neville Cooper (Hopeful Christian) as the Springbank Christian Community. They relocated to a larger property on the West Coast between 1991 and 1995.