Impacts of the Concerts

Author Liz Gregory

Eight years ago we went and stayed at Gloriavale for the weekend and we attended one of their concerts. It was a life-changing experience for us. After the weekend I documented the experience and blogged about it in a secret blog group. I wrote a series of posts and reflections. I will make them live on this website soon.

Since then I have heard from so many ladies at Gloriavale the impact of the concerts on their lives. It took such a tremendous toll that I almost feel guilty for being part of the thousands of people every two years who attended and enjoyed the spectacle.

In hindsight, knowing the amount of pressure put on the members to produce and execute such an amazing event, night after night for weeks on end, I may have reconsidered. Or would I?

They wanted people to attend. And the curious part of me would have found that hard to turn down. You see Gloriavale believed they needed to put on the concerts to keep up their appearances of  offering a “Charitable benefit” to the wider public. The concerts also enhanced their view as a utopian community and kept the local community of Greymouth enthralled.

In the past I have read so many comments on Facebook from people saying, “I went to their concert, it was amazing and we should just leave them to live peaceably because they’re not hurting anybody”.

However, when people leave they speak of the suffering they endured for the months leading up to concert time. Particularly the young ladies and mums. Had you give a thought that the lady who made your dinner might have 12 children, a new baby, and she’s been up early preparing your dinner? She won’t collapse into bed until late that night, and she’ll repeat that almost nightly for 6 weeks? Have you thought about the exploitation that may have been occurring during this time and the impact on the children and their education. Had you given a though to the financial costs to the community (instead of spending it on healthcare and dental treatment)?

Read one woman’s account here of the grueling and punishing schedule she endured and her cry for help from the leaders of the Community.

And then keep in mind that he ignored the letter until a while later, and then one day mentioned it casually at breakfast saying, “I’ve heard whispers that some people are not wanting the concerts to continue because they make a lot of work. But they will be continuing.”

She was devastated and vowed she would never live in Gloriavale long enough to do another concert.

Opinions expressed are that of Liz Gregory and do no necessarily represent the views of the Trust.