Gloriavale under pressure as police conduct interviews

Gloriavale Christian Community. Photo: Greymouth Star
Gloriavale Christian Community. Photo: Greymouth Star

The Gloriavale Christian Community is today under intense pressure as police and social agencies circle in on the remote community at Haupiri.

West Coast police have paid daily visits to Gloriavale in the past week.

Area commander Inspector Mel Aitken declined to detail the reason or if there were any charges pending as a result of the visits.

However, the Greymouth Star understands at least 33 female members of the community have been interviewed in the past week and that a slew of charges is pending.

Gloriavale leader Fervant Stedfast declined to say if the community was feeling under siege, but acknowledged "there's always rumours".

"I have no comment whatsoever," Mr Stedfast said this morning.

However, someone with intimate personal knowledge of Gloriavale said another official operation was focusing on the community and how it cared and protected children.

"I think they've been gunning for them," the source said.

They described a community "under siege", with the leadership increasingly being questioned by younger members.

The whistle blowers, however, were being ostracised.

People in the wider Grey district community were increasingly aware of what was happening at Gloriavale because younger men kicked out of the commune were being given outside employment and support, the insider said.

Mrs Aitken said other police often visit Gloriavale and have increasingly done so over the past two years.

This was to do with the police being in an active "education role" at Gloriavale, particularly in the community's schools.

"We're out at Gloriavale all the time because we do a lot of education in the school, so it's not unusual for police to go to Gloriavale," Mrs Aitken said.

- by  Brendon McMahon

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