Gloriavale founder Hopeful Christian has died aged 92


Hopeful Christian, the founder of fundamentalist Christian community Gloriavale, has passed away after a cancer battle.

The 92-year-old's death was confirmed to Newshub by his grandson.

The grandson, who did not want to be named and lives outside the community, said he "had a lot of good memories and a lot of bad memories" of his grandfather.

"I won't go to the funeral, and neither will a lot of his other grandchildren."

Christian, who changed his name from Neville Cooper decades ago, was a convicted sex offender.

He was sentenced to five years in prison in 1995, after being found guilty of three charges of indecently assaulting Yvette Olsen at the Springbank Christian Community, an earlier incarnation of Gloriavale close to Christchurch.

The Gloriavale community - which is based in Haupiri Valley, on the South Island's West Coast - has recently had its charitable status called into question.

Just two weeks ago John Ready, a former member of the community who fled at the end of last year, told Newshub about his experiences of losing his job and being prevented from seeing his wife and nine children.

When Hopeful Christian was asked for a response to Mr Ready's claims, he declined to comment and immediately told Newshub to get off Gloriavale property.

Gloriavale is home to more than 500 people.