Soldiers Without Guns is a New Zealand documentary that tells the story of how the 10-year Bougainville Civil War was ended by some guitar-toting Kiwis.
In 1997, after 14 failed peace agreements, the New Zealand army stepped into the conflict with a radical new plan - instead of bringing guns, the unarmed soldiers took guitars. Condemned by the media, the peacekeeping mission pushed forward using only music, Māori culture and aroha to help end the worst civil war in the Pacific’s history.
Emeritus Bishop Peter Cullinane writes about it below.
"This morning I saw the film 'Soldiers Without Guns' in Feilding - the only one in a theatre with seating for sixteen. What a tragedy that most Kiwis won't even think about it!
Be prepared to be angry; and to shed tears; and to be amazed at what happens when people dare the impossible.
The film is full of insights into the subtle and intensely human dynamics of peace-making; the atrocities committed against a peaceful country by a Western mining company with the support of governments that would even pit Papua New Guineans and Bougainvilleans against each other; the destruction of their land which they regarded as their "life-line" and their "mother"; the wisdom of two foreign ministers (Downer and McKinnon) in bringing the leaders of factions to NZ; the key role of the Maori understanding of aroha and the way this influenced people who had been fighting each other for ten years (and the surprising influence of the powhiri and the haka!); the courage of NZ soldiers (men and women) putting themselves in the midst of fierce conflict without guns, and the courage of their generals (Mortlock, following by Mateparae) in daring to try an untried way of resolving conflict; the distinctive role of women (both indigenous and NZ army) in the whole process; heroic individuals among the indigenous people, and intelligent leaders; the wisdom of facilitating the peace-making but leaving the local people in control ... I was impressed and deeply moved."
Check out the link below for the trailer and movie times.