'It is no longer our place to judge' says Hopeful Christian's estranged daughter as she opens up on Gloriavale founder's death

The estranged daughter of Gloriavale founder Hopeful Christian has opened up following his death, saying he stands before his maker and it is not our place to judge.

The Australian-born founder of the secretive and controversial West Coast religious community died yesterday aged 92 after a battle with cancer.

Christian, an evangelical preacher who changed his name from Neville Cooper after founding the fundamentalist community in the late 1960s, was a convicted sex offender.

He was jailed in 1995 on three charges of indecent assault at the Springbank Christian Community - an earlier version of the church in North Canterbury - in the 1980s.

The NZ Herald reports the daughter fled Gloriavale nine years ago, along with her partner and children.

The daughter, who requested not to be named, told the media outlet she was taking space to grieve the loss of her father.

"We grieve what might have been. We reflect on a time when we loved, the longing for things to change, and the feeling of melancholy that things were not different," she said.

"We grieve that the relationship now has no chance of mending."

The daughter said her father gave her life and a heritage for which she is grateful.

"He now stands before his maker. It is no longer our place to judge.

"Everybody is shaped by their journey and it is up to us to choose what we make of it and who we become.

"I honour my Dad today."

Sunday’s Jehan Casinader interviewed the religious leader before he died, and says the community will adapt to go on without him. Source: Breakfast

Christian had 16 children from his first marriage to Gloria. Four of those children remain in Gloriavale, two have died and 10 have fled the community, the Herald reported.

The controversial religious leader died from cancer on May 15, 2018. Source: 1 NEWS