Story: Communes and communities


Modestly dressed young people play sport and sing together in this film clip showing the conservative Christian community of Gloriavale in 2006. Gloriavale, in a remote part of the South Island's West Coast, was founded by independent preacher Neville Cooper (also known as Hopeful Christian). Birth control is not permitted, and in the early 21st century the community was home to some 550 people, many of whom had names such as Willing, Ready and Faithful. Members avoid contact with the outside world – even television and newspapers are not allowed. In the 1990s Cooper – like another charismatic male commune leader, Bert Potter of Centrepoint – was jailed on sexual abuse charges.

Using this item

TVNZ Television New Zealand

This item has been provided for private study purposes (such as school projects, family and local history research) and any published reproduction (print or electronic) may infringe copyright law. It is the responsibility of the user of any material to obtain clearance from the copyright holder.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Caren Wilton, 'Communes and communities - Religious and spiritual communities', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 26 July 2024)

Story by Caren Wilton, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 4 Apr 2018