A Compendium of New Zealand Woo, Cults and New Age Claptrap

A Compendium of New Zealand Woo, Cults and New Age Claptrap

New Zealand is no stranger to woo, religious cults and strange pseudoscientific ‘cures’ for various ailments. Have a look closely at this vintage 1932 poster from the New Zealand Railways, advertising Rotorua as a ‘health spa destination’ and peddling all sorts of odd ‘miraculous’ treatments! Then learn more about the unusual cults that are tucked away in the sleepy hillsides of New Zealand.

Modern-day snake-oil peddlers in Aotearoa

Kosmic Fusion

Followers of a woman living in suburban Auckland believe she is the reincarnation of an Indian deity, who can tune into people’s souls through special frequencies. But two former volunteers for her group, Kosmic Fusion, have described a frightening experience where they were subjected to gruelling “confession” sessions. Read more


A religious sect based on the teachings of a South Korean “messiah” and convicted sex offender has quietly infiltrated university campuses, schools and mainstream churches in New Zealand. Read more


A group in Wellington (and all over the world) that meets and recruits via Meetup and talks about soul travel, the sound and light of god (also known as ECK) as well as past lives. The chant you are hearing in the below is the sound of ECK or the sound of god. Along with images of the masters of ECK. I don’t know…to me it looks and sounds a bit like a David Lynch movie. Also from this video, it looks a bit of a sausage fest. Anyway, it’s creepy AF!!!!!


New Zealand’s most high profile and well-known cult is Gloriavale, which was the subject of several prime time TV series. The secretive community has operated for 80 years in a remote part of the South Island. They look a bit like the Amish and shun all contact with the outside world. And yet despite a Royal Commission into historical neglect, sexual and physical assaults of children and women, the cult continues on as normal and even has a Charity status. A new Trust has been set up to help people leave the community.

I am not sure how to feel about cults, along with their nefarious cousins dubious health or wellness products and services. These religious groups, products and services are so common in New Zealand and seeing them on meetup or on Eventbrite always makes me uneasy. It’s worrying to see people being duped and manipulated. It could be on a small scale to buy some activated almonds or it could be far more sinister. I think there should be more active regulation and monitoring of such groups in New Zealand.

Published by Content Catnip

Content Catnip is a quirky internet wunderkammer written by an Intergalactic Space Māori named Content Catnip. Join me as I meander through the quirky and curious aspects of history, indigenous spirituality, the natural world, animals, art, storytelling, books, philosophy, travel, Māori culture and loads more.

6 thoughts on “A Compendium of New Zealand Woo, Cults and New Age Claptrap

    1. It’s OK here, a topsy turvy what is going on with covid and the economy..but it’s the same everywhere. Sorry to break it to you, it probably sounds a like a bummer. There is good and bad in every place I guess.


  1. You can’t go anywhere these days without digging up some crackpots! Have you seen all those conspiracy theories during the rounds? Some the dumbest stuff I’ve ever seen..


    1. Yep, it’s just crazy how far some of these theories go. It’s really sad that people are so ill-informed about things that they believe it all so readily. It must make them feel better or more secure to believe in this crazy stuff, I just don’t get it. It comes from fear though of the future, or of various forces outside of their control.


      1. Yeah for sure, also various forms of mental illness comes into it, just sad. It is preying upon people at their lowest point, when they are most vulnerable


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