The embattled head pastor of ARISE church in Wellington is "voluntarily stepping aside" following allegations of mistreating interns and volunteers.

The announcement came the evening before Easter Sunday, one of the biggest Church services of the year.

The megachurch, which has thousands of attendees across the country, recently announced an external independent review following the allegations emerging online.

Former interns and volunteers who spoke to 1News described being "burnt out".

“Mentally, and physically, you’re pushing yourself to the point of exhaustion,” one former volunteer said, who had been with the church for more than a decade.

Head pastor, John Cameron, initially addressed these online saying he was "deeply sorry for any hurt caused".

Late last Saturday, the ARISE board chairperson, Graeme Kirkwood, said that Cameron "has voluntarily stepped aside from his pastoral duties" while pastor Brent Cameron was "currently on leave".

"They have also resigned from their positions on the Arise Board."

1News understands this was decided after a late evening meeting after a story about ARISE was broadcast on 1News, as well as several stories written by journalist David Farrier.

"The Arise Board is committed to hearing and understanding people's stories, and uncovering the facts to bring relief and healing to those who are in pain, in order to put into place any corrective action that may be needed," Kirkwood said.

"We want to encourage all past and current members, staff, and volunteers who have been hurt or have a complaint to get in contact with the independent reviewer that has been established. It is important they hear all stories."

Top image: ARISE pastor John Cameron. Photo: ARISE Church

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