“Healing is possible no matter what you’ve been through. I’ve been through some horrible experiences in my life, and here I am. I want to give others this hope.”


Religious Cult Convalescent. ex-Gloriavale Daughter. Author. Speaker. Smiler. Business Coach. Role Model. Indie Rock Lover. Liberated and Free Human.


You would reckon that in 2019, the human race would be a civilised bunch? We’d all be working from a good base of morals, there would be a decent amount of harmony, our values would be purposeful and people would be living peacefully…


Our guest this week, Lilia Tarawa, is a lady who has experienced the absolute extreme of living in a community which does not value human’s equally and rules by irrational control.


Lilia was born in Haupiri, New Zealand, into the infamous, Gloriavale Christian Community. Gloriavale, was and is, a 500 strong cult, founded in 1969, by Lilia’s Grandfather, Neville Cooper.

Lilia Tarawa - Gloriavale Daughter

Until she was 18, she lived in a bedroom with her family of nine siblings and their parents. Lilia recalls many great memories from her childhood. They enjoyed exploring the huge farm with all their animals, they always hung out with their friends and family, climbed mountains, swam in rivers and ate in a large communal hall. Sounds blissful…


Sadly, there was a much more sinister side to their ‘community’. The community was in-fact, a cult. Lilia’s perception of the outside world was that it was full of evil and the people out there were going to hell.


Everyone was basically brainwashed and indoctrinated in the community. The role of women from a young age, was cleaning, washing, ironing, cooking, knitting and to bear children. They wore head scarfs and full dresses, it was their one and only uniform. Lilia was raised to think that she had to be submissive, have children and serve or help men.


Arranged marriages were the rule. She was taught that birth control was murder, and they should have all the children that ‘God gave them’. They were punished for wearing sunglasses, listening to music if not monitored, or for reading something that wasn’t in the church library. All information was controlled. Humiliation was a common theme and the physical abuse was often public and difficult to witness.


At 18, Lilia and her family left. Being in the big wide world posed many challenges, such as: Could she wear make-up? Could she wear a dress or tight pants? Was wearing jewellery ok? What is a bank account?


These days Lilia is a sought after public speaker, an author and a business coach. She truly is a remarkable woman, with an incredible story to share.


We hope you enjoy this conversation as much as we did.


Let’s find out what it means for Lilia Tarawa, to be Ridiculously Human.


Your fellow beings,

Craig and Gareth


Background, Context & Reference

Connect with Lilia Tarawa:









Lilia’s books and other achievements:

Book: Daughter of Gloriavale

Lilia’s TEDx Talk: I grew up in a cult. It was heaven – and hell

Contact Lilia: Get in touch

Other relevant points discussed and mentioned:

Gloriavale Christian Community


Handmaid’s Tale

The Witcher – Blood of Elves

People Discussed:

Neville Cooper (Hopeful Christian)

Teal Swan

Places Mentioned:

Haupiri, New Zealand


Music By

The Bambuseae Rhythm Section – Check them out here

Simon Van Gend Band – Check them out here

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