Nick Lee, a law student at the University of Auckland, was invited to join a Bible study group by a friend during a trip back to Seoul two years ago.
What he didn't know was that his friend was a Shincheonji believer on a mission to convert him.
The 25-year-old found the teachings of a "professor" who taught at the classes to be "in contradiction" to his Christian faith.
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"They were critical of mainstream churches and claimed that only this group had the truth and revealed word," Lee said.
"They also interpreted things in the Bible very differently to what we have been taught as Christians."
After they returned to New Zealand, he learned that his mate had become a Shincheonji believer.
"When his family tried to talk him out of it, members in Auckland helped him escape and paid for his flight to Korea," Lee said.
"He lived with Shincheonji members there, and he stopped communicating with friends and family."
Lee managed to track his friend down a few months later, who confessed that he had deceived him into attending Bible study.
"He told me he had already joined Shincheonji before taking me to the Bible study group, and that he brought me there to convert me," Lee said.
Members are taught that "the East" as referred to in Revelation verse 7:2 in the Bible is Korea, and the " other angel" was Shincheonji founder Lee Man Hee.
Another, a Chinese international student from AUT University, said he was invited to attend classes at the group's Grafton headquarters by two girls who approached him outside the city campus.
"They also told me that there will also be opportunities to get free trips to Korea for training," said the student, who did not want to be named.
He was told the Bible classes were run by a Zion Christian Centre and no mention was made about its links with Shincheonji.
"There is a classroom and a worship room, but you can enter the worship room only if you have been purified," he said.
The student, who is new to Christianity, said the group's teachings were interesting and enlightening.
He was not clear what one had to do to be "purified".
"The Bible is written in a way that is hard to understand, and I am happy to find a place to help me see what God is saying."
It is the claim of Shincheonji that the Bible is written in metaphors and only its founder Lee could interpret and understand.