• The Listener
  • North & South
  • Noted
  • RNZ

Podcast: The cult of Gloriavale

Lilia at her baptism at Gloriavale. Photo / supplied
When Lilia Tarawa fled from the religious cult of Gloriavale, she turned her back on the only life she’d ever known.

The deeply moving story of a girl who grew up in this isolated community on the South Island’s West Coast … and what happened when her thirst for truth and knowledge became too great to ignore.


“Mum freaks out, like, ‘God has cursed us’. Dad’s like, ‘Don’t be silly, woman!’ and I’m sitting here thinking, ‘Are there people from Gloriavale coming to get us? Will they come and force us to go back? And I’m scared out of my wits.”


“We don’t want women who are independent. We don’t want to be raising women who are leaders. A woman’s job is to submit to the men.”


Listen to the full episode from the podcast series The Lip by journalist Megan McChesney.