NZ Geographic – What it’s like to leave Gloriavale

NZ Geographic – What it’s like to leave Gloriavale

By Anke Richter – New Zealand Geographic – 31/01/2019

Since 1969, Gloriavale Christian Community has set itself apart from New Zealand society. Over the past six years, nearly 100 people have left or been expelled from the 550-strong group on the South Island’s West Coast. Gloriavale leavers know only the communal lifestyle, religious rules and conformity demanded by their former leaders. For them, Timaru might as well be a foreign country.

IT’S 8PM ON a drizzly evening and dark.

Fog is setting in from Lake Brunner, spilling over the paddocks and empty roads of Moana, a sleepy holiday town on the West Coast. Most people here are dairy farmers, and most are winding down for the day, but Marcus Tuck is heading out the door of his Rotomanu home. He’s just had a call from someone in Gloriavale.

“I have to meet this young couple,” he says, and sighs. “The guy’s that close to being kicked out. They’re in trouble. They have a baby.”

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