The Gloriavale Christian Community is home to more than 80 families (over 400 people) who are members of the Church at Gloriavale.
There are about 250 members who were born inside the community.
About 35 babies are born there each year. The community does not believe in birth control. An unnamed source previously told a TV3 programme: “We will not murder our children by using birth control”.
From the outside looking in, some would argue that Gloriavale is a safe, quiet community, where children are taught the way of life in a pre-technology era.
Strong allegations have been made against Gloriavale’s leader, Hopeful Christian. Former members of the community have come forward with accusations of sexual abuse, brainwashing, and physical punishment, allegedly involving girls as young as 12.
Barnabas Ben-Canaan, an ex Gloriavale member, told Stuff.co.nz: “One of the leaders had been involved with a number of underage girls. He said the leader was in his 30s and the girls were 13 or 14 years old.”
Police are urging any former members to come forward.
Police say: “[we] would like to assure anyone who is considering approaching police that they will be dealt with professionally and with empathy by staff who are trained to deal with sensitive issues.”