The Cooperites

The Cooperites are a small exclusive Christian cult in the South Island of New Zealand.

The community lives approximately 50 kms from Greymouth along the Western Coast of New Zealnd. They were founded in the 1960's by an Australian, Neville Cooper, who in 1994 was jailed for 5 years for indecent assault.

The community is a self-sufficient farming community in which contact with the outside world is greatly restricted. The group hold very strict conservative moral values. Women wear blue dresses and head coverings, and men wear ties. There is a strong emphasis on sexual purity. Both men and women marry as young teenagers, and very large families are the norm. There are about 400 members, half of whom are children. Those who leave the community are shunned and denied contact with their family that remains in the community.

The organisation runs a number of financially successful businesses and runs its own airline.


Janet McIntyre, TVNZ

It's the children you worry about most. So young, so innocent, so brainwashed. And so exploited, little slaves in a bizarre cult that's shut itself off from the outside world.


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