John Ready's struggle without his family after Gloriavale expulsion

On Christmas Eve last year John Ready was forced to leave Gloriavale for being in possession of 'contraband' or religious pamphlets dropped off by 'night raiders'.

He was forced to leave behind his wife and nine children.

He talked to Patrick Gower about those final hours before telling his family goodbye.

"I'm asked if I've changed my views. And I said the short answer is no. So that's verbatim. The short answer is no. And so yeah, they excommunicated me," Mr Ready said.

That was his final meeting with Gloriavale leaders. A grilling from the so-called 'shepherds'.

"There's certainly no glee about it, there's no sort of serve yourself right. In the final meeting, it is quite downer.

"There's basically no verbal jousting at all, no mental pitting against one another, it's over. You lost. You knew it was coming."

"You persisted. You haven't convinced us of anything. We would love you to repent and submit yourself to us but you've obviously not doing that and so we are required by scripture to excommunicate you," he told Newshub.

Mr Ready got caught up in a battle between the West Coast sect's leaders and a group of South Island churches, who've been slipping into Gloriavale at night, dropping off more mainstream Christian messages to break the cult. Reading those pamphlets got him thrown out.

"I was more concerned about my family, more concerned about my wife. My wife was there," he said.

"Obviously she understands the gravity of situation, I knew I had a really good relationship with my wife, knew it was a rock solid relationship. I still love her, she still loves me, I've got no doubt about that."

"I was given opportunity of an hour and a half, whether by design or that's the way it's happened to go back to my room. "Obviously my wife is pretty upset - 9 years we've been married. I'm getting the boot.

"And as a family we're getting separated and it's nothing to do with a break down at all in the relationship of a family, it's not that we can't get on, we still love one another dearly.

"To be perfectly honest I do have a bit of a, I'm gonna call it an override switch. Where I just can't, when the moment's too big - I just don't absorb it, it just goes over me, I just absorb what I can."

His eyes have been opened to the contradiction of a Christian community that puts fundamentalism over family.

"My third to youngest, she's five at the time, Harmony, I call her Amy, there's a few Harmony's around - she liked put on my clothes, hopped into my shirt, buttoned it up, put my trousers on and got onto my side of my bed," Mr Ready said.

"I really felt like she was trying to communicate something, she wasn't using words but she was really trying to communicate the loss there, by putting on my clothes - it wasn't a normal response. She was actually trying to communicate something, she knew what was up."

It's a harrowing experience that any parent can sympathise with - and it's only strengthened his resolve to see moral justice done. For now, nothing can stop him talking to his family from the other side of the Gloriavale gates.

"Well I tell them I love them, that I'm wishing and I'm hoping that we will be a family again, together," he said.

"I've been striving as a dad, as any dad would, to reunite the family."