July, 2007: Ex-Gloriavale members sentenced for robbery

Gloriavale made the news when two brothers who left the community - Joel Tarawa, 20 and Simeon Just, 18 - were sentenced to two and half years and 23 months' jail respectively for a robbery in Christchurch.

The pair were drinking and playing pool with the robbery victim in the Lancaster Park Hotel. They attacked him in the carpark as he left, knocking him down and taking his wallet and cellphone. The victim needed 37 staples in a head cut.

Christchurch District Court judge David Saunders noted the brothers' family were not at court for the sentencing, and said it was a strange sort of religion that allowed the family to leave two sons standing in the dock bereft of support.

Both brothers had partners who gave birth to their children while they were in custody.

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July 2014: Gloriavale hits NZ TV screens

The amount of babies born in Gloriavale means numbers keep growing no matter how many leave. Photo / Supplied
The amount of babies born in Gloriavale means numbers keep growing no matter how many leave. Photo / Supplied
Gloriavale: A World Apart

aired on July 17, 2014, letting Kiwis into the secretive community for the first time.

The biggest take away here was the revelation that for the last three years, there had been a steady stream of people leaving the community of around 530 members.

An ex-member said entire families were leaving at a time, estimating that hundreds had left over the past three or four years.

But, because of the "pretty high number of babies" the community was still growing.

The ex-member said the lack of freedom was the community's downfall and that's why he and his family decided to leave.

April, 2015: Ex-Members speak out against Gloriavale's leader

Rosanna Overcomer with Elijah Overcomer on TVNZ Sunday programme. Photo / TVNZ Supplied
Rosanna Overcomer with Elijah Overcomer on TVNZ Sunday programme. Photo / TVNZ Supplied

Two young couples who left Gloriavale spoke up about the community's leader Neville Cooper aka Hopeful Christian.

Cooper has led the community for over 40 years, but had also served time in prison on sexual abuse charges in the mid-90s.

Rosanna Overcomer and her husband Elijah were kicked out of the community when they began to question Cooper and his past.

According to TV One at the time, Cooper told Elijah he "had evil spirits" in him, and told his wife he was "evil deceived, full of the devil" and being with him was "damning herself".

Elijah said "most people [in the community] would not have any idea, and if you told them why he went to jail [they'd say], 'you're a liar, you're just accusing our leader'."

Gloriavale's response was: "Our trust is in God and he is still on the throne. His judgements are righteous."

April, 2015: A community rich in assets

Despite a simple lifestyle, it turned out Gloriavale was worth a lot of money. Photo / Supplied
Despite a simple lifestyle, it turned out Gloriavale was worth a lot of money. Photo / Supplied

Soon after Elijah's revelations, it was revealed that Gloriavale owned assets worth $36.6 million, including a dairy farm, deer enterprise and an aircraft repair firm.

As a charity operating as the Christian Church Community Trust - run by four church leaders and overseen by Hopeful Christian - the community was also tax-exempt.

It turned out that Gloriavale made a net profit of more than $1.86 million between 2013 and 2014. That, and the farm in Haupiri Valley where the community lives and works turned out to be worth more than $10.2 million.

Yet, no community members were paid to work at any of its eight companies and the contributions the trust made to the community only amounted to around $108,600.

June, 2015: Cooper's victim speaks out

Neville Cooper, founder of the Cooperite religious sect. Photo / TVNZ Sunday
Neville Cooper, founder of the Cooperite religious sect. Photo / TVNZ Sunday

The woman who was sexually assaulted by Gloriavale's leader applied to have her name suppression lifted by the courts and then went on national TV to speak against him.

Yvette Olsen said Cooper sexually assaulted her on three occasions when she was 19 and called Cooper a man of "unbridled lust", "lies" and "absolute power", calling him a "dirty old man".

Ms Olsen said she was inspired to speak after her niece, known only as Julia, spoke to Campbell Live about being the victim of a "wrong relationship" with an adult married man when she was a child.

Julia said adults in the community had relationships with minors.

Ms Olsen said Cooper had tried to break her spirit, forcing her to call herself a "harlot" after she became involved, aged 16, with a 14-year-old boy at Gloriavale.

August, 2015: Gloriavale returns to TV

Paul Valor and Pearl Valor on their wedding day. Photo / Supplied
Paul Valor and Pearl Valor on their wedding day. Photo / Supplied
Gloriavale

returned to television following the marriage and lives of Paul Valor and Pearl Hope, when it was revealed that the community's elders were responsible for match-making.

The senior men decide everything, arranging all the relationships by examining the bloodlines. They compile a list of "five or six girls who you can marry without any problems" who fall in the right age bracket, and "that's what we call the shortlist", Paul explained.

They then tell the young suitor that: "God has got somebody specially prepared for you".

August, 2015: School's "sexist curriculum" under fire

Women sort washing at Gloriavale. Photo / Supplied
Women sort washing at Gloriavale. Photo / Supplied

Gloriavale's school came under fire for its "sexist curriculum" following claims the curriculum prevented students - especially girls - from going on to tertiary study, steering them toward domestic roles instead.

School principal Faithful Pilgrim said at least 35 percent of women in Gloriavale held level seven qualifications obtained while they were living in the community, and most of these women had completed their education at the school.

But he also said that most female students chose to follow traditional and biblical roles because of their own faith, love for children and "respect for their mothers".

July: 2016: Gloriavale: Round three

Dove Love and Watchful Stedfast are the stars of the upcoming
Dove Love and Watchful Stedfast are the stars of the upcoming "Gloriavale: A Woman's Place". Photo / Supplied
Gloriavale: A Woman's Place

returns to TV screens today, focusing on the community's "openly submissive" women and their roles there - largely kitchen or laundry duties.

It follows 22-year-old Dove Love, a kitchen manager preparing to marry 17-year-old apprentice builder Watchful Stedfast.

Stedfast says: "She's willing to submit to me, which I feel is very important for a marriage to last."

Gloriavale screens tonight on TV2 at 8.30pm.