Drowning in OIA’s

Drowning in OIA’s

Opinion piece: Liz Gregory.

(Disclaimer: Views are not necessarily those of the staff, trust or other leavers from Gloriavale. Pass feedback directly to me if necessary.)

Oh you thought I meant Oia, the town on the beautiful Greek Island of Santorini? Sorry, I meant OIA’s – Official Information Act requests! Fancy getting those muddled up.

Did you know that anyone can apply to any Government Office and request an OIA? That’s where you can ask what’s been happening inside top secret Government meetings and find out decisions that are being made, or correspondence that has been received on an issue. Fascinating!

We get caught up in all sorts of OIA’s. Sometimes we do an OIA because we want more information about a certain topic. The last one we did was around the Education Select Committee meetings back in 2015 where MP Catherine Delahunty brought up concerns around the girls’ education in Gloriavale. We wanted to see how seriously the Government of the day took the concerns (clearly not at all, because they declined to do any follow up). The one we did before that came to us with every single page blacked out. I wonder what on earth is written on those pages…

We also get caught on the other side of OIA’s where usually media have made requests to the Govt for info and invariably communications we have had with agencies pops up. We get an opportunity to oppose the release of any sensitive information that relates to individuals, but on the whole we smile and wave.

But it brings a benefit to us. In reading these OIA’s we find out some pretty incredible things!

Recently we got our hands on a report that was looking into the Government “all-in” response into Gloriavale.

Here are some interesting statistics:

  1. Ten government agencies plus an unknown number of NGO’s (Non-Government Organisations) are working to try and save Gloriavale
  2. There are fortnightly meetings with one group, monthly meetings with others.
  3. There are a minimum of 22 people involved across the Government agencies.
  4. One young person noted as being assisted by one group and passed through to another service for extra support.
  5. Offending is still being discovered (as demonstrated by charges against the Leader)
  6. The school is thinking about bringing Indians in (likely from their community over there) to teach in the school…
  7. These agencies are writing and submitting pieces of paper around every 6 -8 weeks.
  8. Progress will be reviewed in December (The Govt gave them 18 months to sort themselves out and meet the key outcomes cabinet set for them …)
  9. Gloriavale life-support has cost….. $????? That information was withheld….


  1. When will leavers get 22 people from 10 different Govt agencies working for them to help them establish their new lives?
  2. When will leavers get free, easily accessible counselling services?
  3. When will young ladies in Gloriavale stop having their names put on work rosters? (Yes even recently!)
  4. Is there another charity in NZ that’s in such a state that it needs so much intervention?
  5. How long do the people inside have to wait for REAL and MEANINGFUL change?

Tongue and Cheek (someone else wrote these ideas. I need to protect their identity!)

  1. Gloriavale could be repurposed if necessary. It’s a bit difficult to escape from, so it might be the perfect location for a prison of sorts. Perhaps National’s Boot Camp plan? It’s at the end of the valley bounded by a freezing cold lake. Barely any cars – so no massive hitch-hiking trade. Cell reception shocking, but generally the infrastructure spend would be low.
  2. Perhaps it would be better suited to a quarantine facility for the great unwashed population that were accused of being the scourge of society not that long ago…

It’s always good to stir things up, and throw in some humour to grab attention. The truth is people inside Gloriavale have been let down by the Government, and I’m starting to wonder if they’re starting to realise that too. There’s nothing worse than hopelessness. Except the despair that follows it.