Gloriavale: Leading journalist doubts community can be reformed

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A leading journalist on cults doubts Gloriavale can be reformed and says it needs to be closed down.

Anke Richter has been researching cults for more than a decade and is the author of Cult Trip: Inside the world of coercion & control. The book looks at “how and why cults attract, entrap, and destroy otherwise ordinary people”.

She told 1News that sometimes it can be difficult to spot what a cult looks like but says with Gloriavale it’s obvious, given the charismatic leader, the high level of control, the uniformity, and the lack of individuality.

“As we know now and have known for a long time the exploitation, the level of abuse, the coercion, the enslaving of people, one hundred per cent that’s a cult.”

Richter’s comments come after the Gloriavale Leavers’ Trust released a discussion document, where it asks former residents what needs to happen if the West Coast commune continues and what a suitable ending would look like.

Trust manager Liz Gregory said the document does not seek to establish whether reform or closure is a preferred path, but rather what leavers would like to see if either of those options play out.

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