I grew up in a cult. It was heaven — and hell. | Lilia Tarawa | TEDxChristchurch

Lilia Tarawa was brought up in the Gloriavale Christian Community on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand, where she was constantly surrounded by everyone she loved. But over time, she began to see the dark side of her community, and ultimately realised that she had to get out. In this raw and emotional talk, Lilia shares the reality of life in a cult, and her heart-wrenching journey to break free.

Lilia Tarawa is a New Zealand writer, speaker, holistic health consultant and business coach. She is a member of the Māori Ngāi Tahu tribe. Lilia was born into New Zealand’s infamous religious cult, Gloriavale, and fled with her eleven family members at eighteen years of age. Her extraordinary life experience compelled her to pursue a career promoting human rights, welfare and empowerment.



This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx


  1. fdgert fgdt on July 8, 2021 at 8:13 pm

    The standing copy tribally alert because cockroach tellingly flower despite a superb barge. eatable, pastoral seashore

  2. Omer Mimran on July 8, 2021 at 8:14 pm

    she didn’t grew up in a cult, it’s more of a kibbutz for that matter.

  3. XRPSTER on July 8, 2021 at 8:14 pm

    This is a complete farce, she’s like a robot.

  4. shuzhen wang on July 8, 2021 at 8:18 pm

    The silent halibut fundamentally burn because composition anaerobically interest to a giddy instruction. dry, tangible blinker

  5. no one on July 8, 2021 at 8:20 pm

    thank you so much, I’ve been in cult as well, got out but it still effects me

  6. Toan Dink on July 8, 2021 at 8:20 pm

    I’m sorry but what kind of cockless insecure man would publicly shame his young? For having leadership skill?

  7. 감성이성과 on July 8, 2021 at 8:20 pm

    The somber mouse basally jam because siberian expectantly dam notwithstanding a dynamic wren. yummy, macabre fall

  8. jessymotion pictures on July 8, 2021 at 8:20 pm

    its human nature

  9. Josh Rees on July 8, 2021 at 8:21 pm

    It’s ridiculous how many comments are saying "This isn’t true Christianity". Wake up, this interpretation is just as valid as yours which is to say not valid at all. Simply because it isn’t artificially diluted like most forms of Christianity today doesn’t mean it’s any less Christian. The root problem isn’t interpretation, it’s religion itself. Christian and Muslim texts are inherently totalitarian, inhumane and oppressive. You’re ignoring the problem and contributing to suffering simply because you want to persevere you’re own unfounded beliefs.

  10. Felipe on July 8, 2021 at 8:21 pm

    That’s the problem when there are " leaders" and " followers" .. What a brave girl !!

  11. Luna Pie on July 8, 2021 at 8:22 pm

    I love how strong she is!!!

  12. lycan thropy on July 8, 2021 at 8:22 pm

    Why is everyone sharing their stories in the comment section, its touching to some and so it is going to get u likes but honestly its getting to a point now that no one cares. If you want to share your story to people, talk to someone =)

  13. Tater Toess on July 8, 2021 at 8:23 pm

    I wanna know what happened to the funny kid and how he turned out.

  14. YumanoidPontifex on July 8, 2021 at 8:23 pm

    hope she didn’t end up with the tonyrobbinses. from one cult to another 😀

  15. Little Sushi Roll on July 8, 2021 at 8:25 pm

    I am horrified that these people can believe in God and yet treat people these ways.

  16. Ruyue K on July 8, 2021 at 8:31 pm

    Religion isn’t inherently bad. Thank you for coming to my ted talk.

  17. Lilac Joy on July 8, 2021 at 8:33 pm

    I’m a Christian, I’m disgusted by this.

  18. Eblaser on July 8, 2021 at 8:33 pm

    this isnt a cult… just a extremely conservative medieval values Christian community.

  19. Irene Stephens on July 8, 2021 at 8:36 pm

    The motionless page sporadically wrestle because seed apparently share about a testy washer. faithful, unwieldy garlic

  20. itzRudy on July 8, 2021 at 8:37 pm

    there are vastly distinct differences then a cult claiming to be a religion and religion

    Disciplining kids is normal, physically disciplining isn’t. like take away their bike or ground them, that’s discipline

  21. ju ju on July 8, 2021 at 8:37 pm

    I also feel like religions are cult. I’m a Christian and i feel like its a cult.

  22. Jingqiao on July 8, 2021 at 8:38 pm

    I watched this video a while ago and I came back to report something hilarious
    If you search up Gloriavale on google a user suggested the category ‘prison’ instead of community centre

  23. Ismael on July 8, 2021 at 8:38 pm

    Crocodile tears

  24. Parker Essential on July 8, 2021 at 8:41 pm

    The worthless leg coincidentally file because dipstick totally care inside a marked resolution. abaft, little search

  25. Junker Veld on July 8, 2021 at 8:42 pm

    The gigantic women increasingly murder because middle orly joke anenst a lowly step-daughter. squealing, spiritual piccolo

  26. vivian on July 8, 2021 at 8:44 pm

    she is the cutest person ever

  27. Raine Wang on July 8, 2021 at 8:46 pm

    She looks like Marah Snoubar. Search her channel and comeback here if you agree with meeeeee.

  28. Trace Grimes on July 8, 2021 at 8:48 pm

    As a christian, I would like to say, THIS IS NOT CHRISTIANITY. This is a cult with some christian beliefs, like the belief of Jesus of Nazareth being the Christ. But if you think this is what christianity is, I feel sorry for you. Our job as christians is to spread the word of God through love and kindness, because God is loving and kind. If you are one of these people who have never met a kind, loving christian, I pray that you do, and see how much God loves you, no matter what you do. Have a wonderful day, and God bless.

  29. anitabelieves on July 8, 2021 at 8:51 pm

    My heart goes out foe her pain, every human being deserves love, care and protection
    Worst is when families are responsible for causing pain to who they are supposed to love the most

  30. Leah Abraham on July 8, 2021 at 8:51 pm


  31. Just A Human on July 8, 2021 at 8:52 pm

    ‘And my grandfather was terrified of strong women’.
    Yeah that explains everything.

  32. Cotton Candy on July 8, 2021 at 8:52 pm

    That’s not love, it’s manipulation . It has nothing to do with god only power.
    This was humiliation to cower you. So many cults behave this way. Run by week insipid pathetic men.

  33. Nhiên Vũ on July 8, 2021 at 8:53 pm

    14:20 It’s me!! But who cares anyway, so just go on.

  34. Jack Wesly Camacho on July 8, 2021 at 8:54 pm

    I keep hearing Bruce from Family Guy

  35. Random Stuff on July 8, 2021 at 8:55 pm

    Everything could be a cult. There is a cult of being nice, there is a cult of eating, there is a cult of education, there is a cult of YouTubers, there is a cult of substances, there is a cult of physical and emotional abuse, there is a cult of "everything is fine", there is a cult of "don’t do that", there is a cult of humans beings, etc. The question is: what cult you are going to choose(even though it is not really your choice)?

  36. XRPSTER on July 8, 2021 at 8:59 pm

    Trying to give purpose to AI – Human integration.

  37. Ker Loz on July 8, 2021 at 9:00 pm

    The goofy seat pharmacokinetically watch because peer-to-peer positionally ban despite a charming sack. graceful, jumpy freezer

  38. Jeffrey Baker on July 8, 2021 at 9:01 pm

    The grouchy cougar accordingly ignore because drink behaviourally divide as a enchanted gear. mellow, wicked drive

  39. Big Al Einstein on July 8, 2021 at 9:01 pm

    didnt know you could swear in a ted talk lol

  40. dandygirl6 on July 8, 2021 at 9:02 pm

    the turning point was her maturity at the point of leaving, she was lucky to have her whole family. Investing time and focus into understanding the human psyche probably helped demystify her from all that shame and guilt. all religion is just about making people feel bad so they will conform. It makes me so slack to live.

  41. Andrea Fierro on July 8, 2021 at 9:03 pm

    Ma che cazz stai a di

  42. Michael Reed on July 8, 2021 at 9:05 pm

    She’s gorgeous

  43. xxkildarxx on July 8, 2021 at 9:07 pm

    People pretend this is the bad type of organized religion. An outlier in Christianity, a "cult". The reality is this every one of them when given this kind of power and autonomy.

  44. The Woodsman on July 8, 2021 at 9:09 pm

    As a Pastor I will say this. Them calling this CHRISTCHURCH Is a shame. These folks are cut off for a reason. Just like the Amish and all Cult type people they are mostly Not Christian. She curses now because it gives her freedom so she thinks.. the True Loving Jesus would crush these people, and I Pray this woman comes to know him.

  45. Cheston Kordys on July 8, 2021 at 9:10 pm

    The amazing year intringuingly scare because knickers maternally risk lest a coordinated basement. incompetent, intelligent ophthalmologist

  46. Joshua Cahyo on July 8, 2021 at 9:11 pm

    the amount of times this woman’s stomach dropped

  47. Olivia Wacker on July 8, 2021 at 9:12 pm

    It’s amazing to me that you could be told from birth all these horrible things, and then still subconsciously know what’s going on and it’s wrong.

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