Gloriavale: The history of a reclusive sect
By: Morgan Tait – 28/03/2017 (Updated 13/11/2017)
Founded by Australian-born evangelist Neville Cooper in 1969, Gloriavale follows its own fundamentalist interpretation of the New Testament.
The principles of sharing and holding all things in common are at the centre of the group’s philosophy, as well as strictly abiding by God’s commandments.
In the 1980s the group, also known as Cooperites, outgrew its Christchurch premises and moved to farmland in remote Haupiri, 65km east of Greymouth.
The closed community currently has between 550 and 600 members, made up of about 55 families with an average of eight children each.