John Ready left Gloriavale after his eldest daughter was kicked out and he was caught with Christian reading material.
Since 2017, the West Coast farmer has been fighting to convince his wife to leave with his other children — but she believes the outside world is evil and there is no salvation for her and her children if she leaves.
At 38, as well as fighting for his family, he had to learn simple tasks like supermarket shopping, cooking and cleaning. He got to celebrate Christmas for the first time in his life.
He now has even more motivation to get them out. A new baby. Andrew was conceived during a fleeting visit with his wife before she returned to the isolated community.
Anke Richter meets a torn man.
A trampoline stands in the backyard, facing paddocks where cows graze.
"I'm turning it into a bit of a playground", says John Ready, a dark-haired man with a boyish smile.
Little pink gumboots sit by the door. Children's plastic chairs are stacked in one corner.
But none of Ready's 10 children can be seen in his four-bedroom rental home in the tiny settlement of Rotomanu, on the South Island's west coast.
"It feels empty", he says. "I've been pretty lonely here."
The younger ones come for short visits, when their mother Purity Ready brings them from the Gloriavale community compound, about half an hour's drive away.
Gloriavale founder groomed elders to take over: Expert
There, they sleep in bunk beds in a 5m x 10m hostel bedroom, separated only by a curtain from their mother.
They eat in a communal dining hall with hundreds of other community members and any income from their mother or older sibling is shared among residents.
They rarely left Gloriavale until their father was kicked out of the community — which he was also born into — in 2017.
But at his home, the children have to share a room with only one or two of their siblings.
They eat as a family around the dinner table.
Their dad takes them to the town swimming pool in Greymouth.
They have been to a wood chopping event, traversed the Treetop Walkway in Hokitika and on their sister Charity's 17th birthday, they went to a shooting range.
She pinned her target on her wall in Gloriavale.
"Why can't we stay every day?" asked Ready's 6-year-old daughter Harmony — who they call Amy as there are several Harmonys at Gloriavale — on her last visit.
"I'm working on it", he told her, his heart breaking.
Ready, 40, is one of about 100 people who have left the community in recent years, including his eldest daughter, his father and three siblings.
But he's probably the only one who stays close so he can maintain his marriage to a woman who believes the outside world is evil and there is no salvation for her and her children if she leaves.
Getting his family out has been Ready's focus for the past two years.
He was recently given even more motivation — a new baby. Andrew Alexander Ready was conceived during one of Purity's visits to her husband. But he was born inside Gloriavale.
It was the first time Ready was unable to be there for the birth of one of his children.
"I want him to be free. I don't want my kids growing up in a tyrannical society.
I want them to have free choice, make decisions and learn from mistakes instead of someone else dictating to them. That's what I'm praying for.
"In many ways, I'm not out of Gloriavale, because me family is still there."
The couple are separated logistically, but not by a lack of love, he says.
Their marriage has been damaged and dominated by the patriarchal power of the Gloriavale leaders, he believes.
For an outsider, it might be hard to understand why Purity won't leave. But Ready knows her mindset better than anyone.
"She is true to what she has been reared in, so I cannot blame her for her higher moral ground. It's like Stockholm syndrome."
Others who know the situation compare it to domestic violence — with the authoritarian leadership, not the husband, as the perpetrator.
Gloriavale was started by Neville Cooper, aka Hopeful Christian, in 1969 at Cust, north of Christchurch, before it moved to Haupiri in the 1990s.
Ready's father Clem Ready joined in the early 1970s, aged 19. He had been living in Southland, visited the community and decided to stay. His mother Sharon's family joined when she was 14.
"They offered her mother a place to stay after her father died in a fishing accident," Ready says.
The couple had 13 children — five boys and eight girls.
One of the girls, Prayer Ready, who had Down syndrome, died in 2015 aged 14 after choking on a piece of meat at Gloriavale while shut in an isolation room on which the door handles had been disabled.
Ready says his youngest brother was kicked out after he raised questions about the leaders' actions surrounding Prayer's death.
After her death, another sister, Constance Ready, left Gloriavale and went to police with allegations their father has assaulted them using his open hand and objects including a shoe, slipper, belt. He was convicted in 2018 and sentenced to 12 months supervision in the Greymouth District Court.
Clem Ready, 65, left the community about six months ago and lives with Constance in Rotorua where he works as a truck driver.
Sharon, Ready's mother still lives in Gloriavale.
"Mum stayed behind to look after all the grandchildren," John Ready says.
"My parents aren't blind to the problems of Gloriavale, but they are very trapped in the idea that they are going to hell if they leave."
Ready was educated at Gloriavale's school and left with School Certificate when he was 16. He cut wood for the community's wood-fired boilers until shifting to deer farming. At 27, he was moved to a share milking job just outside Gloriavale before managing the community's farm until he was kicked out.
He married Purity — whom he affectionately calls Chick — in 1998, aged 20.
She was 18.
"We actually chose each other when we were young, it wasn't arranged from the top. We've always been in love, very much."
Nine months later, their first child was born — a daughter who is now 19 who does not want to be identified for this story as she makes a life for herself on the outside.
Her birth was followed by five girls and four boys: Charity, 17, Patience, 15, Jude, 13, Beth, 11, Uriah, 8, Harmony, 6, Dawn, 4, Nicky, 2 and Andrew, 3 months.
While the others are in school, Ready claims Charity works seven days a week for between 12 and 14 hours a day on the teams who prepare food, clean and do the laundry.
Ready began to question Gloriavale in 2015. His eldest daughter, then 15, had vocally questioned a leader about his behaviour towards one of the Gloriavale girls.
As she grew up, she says she also saw what she believes was injustice in how people were treated within the community by the leadership — what she believed was a lack of equality, education, freedom of thought and speech.
After speaking up, she says she had sessions with Gloriavale's "servants and shepherds", known as SS.
The 16 older men make up the leadership structure of the community.
Three times after speaking up, Ready says the teenager was isolated for months at a time — once for a year.
At her work place in the sewing room her colleagues were not allowed to talk to her, neither were her friends after work.
Sometimes she ate alone instead of in the communal dining hall because she felt judged.
"She was severely depressed and questioning why she was even alive," Ready says.
"Half her hair was falling out from the stress. It was a tough road for her. It made me question how they treat their own people."
Eventually, Ready was ordered by Gloriavale leaders to drop his daughter off at the bus stop in Greymouth and never see her again. Instead he drove her to Timaru to stay with an aunt (his wife's adopted sister who had also left the community).
"All the time, the leaders tried ringing me, wanting to know where I slept, what I ate, who did I talk to," he says.
"I didn't pick up and they weren't happy about that." On his way home, Ready stopped at the dairy farm of Kathryn and Marcus Tuck — an elder at a Greymouth church — at Rotomanu, the first settlement if leaving Gloriavale and heading south to State Highway 73 on the way to Christchurch.
The town also links to SH7 in the north, heading to Greymouth. Ready had heard, within Gloriavale, the Tucks' home was a safe place to go.
The Pentecostal Christians took him in and counselled him. Back in Gloriavale, Ready was in trouble for returning late but didn't share that he had been at the Tucks.
He started to become disillusioned and increasingly upset about how he and his daughter had been treated.
In April, he began hatching a plan to leave and approached Marcus Tuck for a job, in case he could get his family out.
He was promised one.
Soon after, so-called "night raiders" left a copy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in his truck.
The young men, former Gloriavale members, had been sneaking into the community to deposit cell phones and reading material that was challenging the community's fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible.
When the book was discovered, Ready was taken into a SS meeting.
"First they fired me [from the farm] for having the book. Then they excommunicated me and sent me to Nelson Creek."
Half an hour away, isolated in the bush, the community owned an empty house where they put residents who misbehaved.
"It's awful, no communication with my family. Elements of the SS would come around to talk at me, the longest debate took 10 hours." Ready was there for eight days.
"Then I broke and said what I needed to say, that I was wrong."
Back in Gloriavale, he worked in the welding workshop for the next six months.
Because of the night raids and the growing number of people leaving, there were "insurgency checks" by members of the SS.
Workers where asked questions like: "Do you think you should obey us absolutely and completely?"
In one of the checks, Ready was asked if he had any issues.
"My answer was: 'We don't treat one another properly. You leaders don't even treat each other properly.'
They were pretty upset about that, but I wasn't shutting up. It was the straw that broke the camel's back."
Again, he says he was dropped off at Nelson Creek — and told not to return until he had repented. It was Christmas Eve 2017.
Ready went to help at a Christian family's farm down the road and spent Christmas with them — the first time in his life he'd celebrated the holiday as Gloriavale residents don't.
When they found out, Ready says they tried to stop the connection by moving Ready to another empty cottage on a farm they owned in the area, near the Tuck's place. He started doing casual work for the Tucks.
"They were hoping I would break and crawl back," Ready says.
"It's shunning." Shunning is practised by other religious groups too.
In Gloriavale, it works as a means of control over family members who are on the outside, to cut them off so they suffer from the enforced lack of contact to their loved ones and then repent.
It also puts fear into those left behind who are not only treated consequently worse but are made to believe that the leavers will go straight to hell. Instead of breaking, Ready started fighting to save his relationship with Purity and trying to convince her to leave.
Up to three nights a week, he secretly entered his family's bedroom on the second floor of one of the community's hostels by scaling a veranda. Sometimes it would take him 15 minutes to close the last 50 metres without being seen. He would read Bible stories to his children and tuck them in.
As well as struggling to see his family, Ready was learning how to run a household. At 38, he had to learn simple tasks like supermarket shopping, cooking and cleaning.
"I didn't even know how to shop first or what to buy."
He also had to learn how to budget and handle money with pay cheques going into his own bank account for the first time in his life.
He says Gloriavale members are made to sign over authority of their bank account to the leaders — Gloriavale's website states that "individuals have pledged to share their income with other brethren in a common purse".
He was given $1000 by the leaders when he left.
"It was dirty money to me, like a bribe — I didn't want it. I gave it to someone in need instead." A couple of months later, Gloriavale gave him $4000.
"By then I knew money was pretty useful, which I didn't fully appreciate at first, not knowing life on the outside."
A month after Ready was kicked out he was still living in the Gloriavale cottage. One of his daughters had an appointment at Christchurch Hospital and Purity arranged to pick him up from work at the Tucks to go with her.
Ready believes the servants and shepherds had been "working on her" — on the way back, she told him he was doomed and immoral, that he would go to hell and she could not speak to him anymore.
"They put all this pressure on her to abandon me. Her father is a powerful man in there." Faithful Pilgrim is a senior shepherd and Purity's older brother a servant.
Ready was already feeling "pretty defeated" because the leadership was trying to make him leave the cottage.
After Purity dropped him off at the Tucks, he went to the cottage to get his things and found a romantic message she had written in flour; "If I take the wings of the morning and I fly to the highest mountain I know your love will always be there".
It was all Ready needed to not give up.
"The words out of her mouth were what they've made her say. But her heart speaks a different language. It's pretty complex, psychologically. She's not crazy."
He asked Marcus Tuck for a knapsack, filled it with spray dye and nitrogen and sneaked into Gloriavale at night. Outside Purity's window on the lawn, he painted the message: "I love you, Chick".
He breaks into a cheeky grin. "I think it made quite an impression on some of the ladies too." The leaders had it washed off quickly, but it grew back weeks later.
He then started showing up during the day.
"No one can deny me access to my children. I haven't done anything wrong."
But he says the leaders are taking their frustration out on his wife. When he took his son on a two-day hunting trip, he claims they gave Purity "a ton of abuse"about it in a SS meeting.
And they started making excuses for her not to leave the compound in one of their vehicles — so Ready bought her an SUV which she can fit six of her kids in while he transports the others.
He also gave her an Eftpos card and a cellphone — which residents are not allowed.
"She got in trouble for it. If they take it off her, I'll charge them for theft and call the cops. Same with anything I give my kids." He has bought them shoes, a watch, and other "small stuff".
"They don't want my children having anything I gave them." By February 2018, Ready was employed full time on the Tucks' farm and lived at their home until he found his own place nearby.
By May, Purity was pregnant with Andrew.
In December, Ready's hopes of having his family back together rose when members of a church who heard of his plight offered the family a free holiday on Great Barrier Island. The flights were booked and Ready hoped it would be the first step toward leaving for Purity.
Kathryn Tuck ran into Purity Ready at The Warehouse in Greymouth the week before.
"She was excited and buzzing", she says.
"We talked about the things she needed to buy for the beach, like reef shoes."
But Gloriavale leadership took Purity into a series of SS meetings and three days before the Readys were to leave, she and the children were taken to Nelson.
Ready wasn't able to find them. He and is oldest daughter missed their flights.
"I couldn't go. I was too gutted." It's not the first time that Gloriavale has whisked one of its women away to cut them off from a husband on the outside.
Rosanna Overcomer, who now lives in Fairlie, was put on a plane when her husband Elijah, who had left Gloriavale, wanted to see her.
She and her children were flown up the West Coast to Karamea and put up in holiday accommodation for weeks. Andrew was born on Waitangi Day. Purity secretly sent his father a photo of the newborn.
"As soon as I got it, I jumped in my vehicle, pulled up there and walked in." It was past midnight.
"They cannot physically stop me." Within the first 10 days after the birth, Ready went to Gloriavale seven times.
"It takes two hours of sleep out of my night, it's exhausting. I still have to function and get up early. But it's hard for her, not having any help from me at night. The hormones and feeding times are stressing her to the onset of depression."
Ready claims Purity has copped a lot of abuse in SS meetings for having his baby.
"It's unacceptable to them that my wife loves me. I'm still here to give her hugs and kisses, she needs affection more than ever."
Ready's oldest daughter has only seen her little brother once, for half an hour, when she stayed with her dad and her mother brought Andrew out.
The Tucks moved to the South Island four years ago from a farm near Rotorua. Gloriavale was like a joke to them but since more people from the community kept showing up at their doorstep in despair, it has become a serious issue.
They have seen more than a dozen and they say their home has become a bit of a safe house.
"Some just wanted to talk and were curious, then stopped coming because it's not allowed," says Kathryn Tuck.
"We give them a meal and a place to stay if people turn up on our doorstep. People should go wild about the injustice in there."
She and her husband have visited the community since Ready left. They spoke to Purity for 15 minutes in her bedroom.
"We explained to her that abandoning her husband is not what God wants her to do." They have since been black-listed from visiting the community for helping leavers.
Tuck, 54, has heard that the women who let their husbands go — if they have left the community — are praised and set up as examples.
"Withholding affection is what they are supposed to do to get the men back. They have to override their desire for them, because that's bowing to the flesh. You bow to the leadership instead."
She has seen how daunting it is for someone raised in Gloriavale, and with so many children to look after, to imagine a life on the outside without the practical comfort of the community, such as childcare.
"It's as scary as moving to a foreign country, or worse — because you think you will go straight to hell." The couple have helped many people with marital issues over the years, including those from Gloriavale.
"They don't physically hurt them, but they control them spiritually and emotionally. It's paramount and reinforced by perversion of truth," Kathryn Tuck says.
To them, it appears like "battered wife syndrome".
For victims of domestic violence, statistically it can take up to 17 attempts before they finally break the cycle and leave. With religious indoctrination such as guilt and fear of eternal damnation on top, it might even take longer.
Tuck knows of three other couples who are going through a similar battle to the Readys, including Ready's 25-year-old brother-in-law who was booted out six months ago.
The father of four lives in Timaru and only sees his daughters at Ready's house every two weeks for visits. His wife has also been turned against him.
"It's a formula that works, so they keep doing it", says Ready.
Ernest Standfast, 22, was booted out in August last year, only saw his kids at certain times and has since gone back in. Ready is doubtful he will last there.
Another father of four was made to leave earlier this year and managed to organise some visits with his boys. The last time he dropped them back to Gloriavale, he demanded to hand them over to his wife to be able to see her.
Marcus Tuck came along. They were met at the bottom of the farm and told that he was to keep his children.
"The mother was asked to let the kids go, on the spot", says Ready.
"It's devastating for everyone. He's a builder and now suddenly has the four kids to look after and cannot work anymore."
Kathryn Tuck thinks Purity will only leave when it is more uncomfortable to stay than stepping into the unknown. The longer it takes, the harder it will be.
"What they do in there is like cooking a frog slowly, so it won't jump out until it's too late."
Gloriavale did not want to comment on this story. On its website, it states that it doesn't speak to the media.
"When people make public accusations about us in the media, we do not answer those accusations when it involves making counter accusations or disclosing the details of a person's private life. Such matters should be sorted out privately according to the principles of Matthew 18; these are not matters for public debate.
"We would rather suffer the wrong when false accusations are made than enter into a public debate which only fuels the sensationalism that the media seeks."
Ready has bought a set of swings for his younger children. He wants to hang them under the large oak tree in the back.
Sometimes he cycles or goes waterskiing on Lake Brunner.
Being able to just drive somewhere, for instance to see his oldest daughter, already means a lot.
But he won't be able to settle into his new house until he is fully reunited with his family.
"If I had my family here, I would be getting my kids into sports and all that", he says.
"But I'm in limbo. It feels like the darkest hour before dawn right now."