A convicted sex offender is living at religious commune Gloriavale under a new identity.
Brent John Carpenter, 47, was released from prison in May 2014 after being jailed for two years, five months after admitted three charges of unlawful sexual connection with a 15-year-old boy in Levin in 2010.
Now, he has moved to the Gloriavale Christian commune at Haupiri, inland from Greymouth on the West Coast, and has legally changed his name to Courageous Sojourner, Fairfax reports.
Gloriavale spokesman, brother Fervent Stedfast today refused to answer Herald questions about Sojourner, and whether the community was aware of his criminal past.
"I don't want to make any comment on your questions, thank you very much," Stedfast said.
Asked if anyone else at the commune could answer the questions, he replied: "There wouldn't be anyone else to talk about it. Reporters have lots of questions and whatever you say, they ask another question. The answer is, I have nothing to say whatsoever."
Gloriavale, which currently has more than 500 members, was founded in 1969.
It relocated from its original North Canterbury site to Haupiri in 1991.
Gloriavale found and leader Neville Cooper, also known as Hopeful Christian, spent 11 months in prison on sexual abuse charges after being convicted in 1995 on the testimony of his son Phil and some young women who had fled the compound.
West Coast area commander Inspector Mel Aitken said police had an "ongoing positive relationship and commitment" to its communities, including Gloriavale.
A multi-agency approach to safety within the community has been adopted at Gloriavale, Aitken said, with regular visits made to the community by police, and also in a multi-agency led approach which includes Oranga Tamariki, District Health Board and the Ministry of Education.
"We continue to work with the Gloriavale leadership team to assist in providing advice and support and we address any identified risks that either Police or the community become aware of," Aitken said.
"Should concerns come to police attention or be raised by members within the community, strategies are discussed and implemented to ensure those residing within the community, are kept safe from harm.
"Any criminal offences identified are dealt with by police in the same way they are in any other community."
Police said they are unable to discuss the specifics of any individual or case concerned.
Investigations into allegations of historic offending at Gloriavale are ongoing. To date no charges have been laid.
"At the beginning of this investigation, police gave a commitment to those who contacted us that they would not be identified in any way. Police are committed to building trust with those people," Aitken added.
One former Gloriavale member who left the commune says members would be worried about having a convicted sex offender living with them.
"It would definitely be a concern," said the ex-member, who did not want to be identified.
Commune leaders would be keeping a close eye on him, the former member said.
"If they were aware [of his background], they would be very, very careful. They would want to be very sure that he had changed if they were going to be letting him in and giving him any type of freedom."
But the person said Gloriavale would be well-placed to help anyone with counselling and turning their lives around.
"Some people do go there for respite and there is definitely help for people with problems."