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Haka and Guitars


During the Pacific’s most bloody Civil War, the New Zealand Army found a way to achieve peace without guns and violence. Through the powerful influence of women and multiculturalism 'Haka and Guitars' shows the world there is a way to achieve peace in our time. Fiona Cassidy (NgatiKuri, Te Aupouri, Te Rarawa) – a former Major in the New Zealand Army – returns to Bougainville to reflect on ‘Operation Belisi’, modern history’s most successful peacekeeping mission.

English subtitle: 


Information for the Audience: 

Directors Statement from John Keir:

"In simple terms the Bougainville story offered the chance to talk about a new kind of peace-keeping. When the New Zealand (and later Australian) Army peacekeepers went into that war zone, they left their weapons behind. Instead of rifles they brought “Haka and Guitars”. Culture instead of conflict. And it worked. Whereas most peacekeeping operations traditionally fail, this one has been an enduring success.

To tell that story (initially for a New Zealand audience) we chose to take one of the Kiwi peacekeepers back to Bougainville. Twenty years earlier Maori Fiona Cassidy had been a Major in the New Zealand Army. Her time in Bougainville (and the experiences of working with Bougainville combatants like Sam Kauona) changed her life – so much so that she left the military as soon as she finished her tour of duty. Her journey (both geographic and emotional) provides the spine of our story.

Hopefully the message has been left: peace happens, not at the end of a gun, but when the dynamics of conflict are turned upside down.

And when people listen to each other."

Screenings / Awards: 


  • Canada's World International Film Festival- 'Best New Zealand/Australian Film'
  • Auckland International Film Festival- 'Best Documentary'
  • Phoenix Film Festival Melbourne- 'Best Documentary'


  • Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards- 'Foreign Documentary Feature'
  • Miami Beach Film Festival- 'Documentary'


  • Los Angeles CineFest- 'Short Documentary'


  • International Filmmaker Festival of World Cinema Nice- 'Short Documentary'
  • International Filmmaker Festival of World Cinema South of FRANCE- 'Feature Documentary'
  • Barcelona Planet Film Festival- 'Best Documentary Feature Film'
  • Miami Independant Film Festival- ' Short Narrative & Doco under 60 minutes'
  • Chautauqua International Film Festival CIFF- 'FILM Short (up to 59 minutes) any genre
  • 4th NOIDA International Film Festival- 'Short Films, Documentary, Animation, Music Video: Production Awards'
  • London Monthly Film Festival- 'Best Documentary Short Film'
  • Colortape International Film Festival- 'FEature Film & Documentary'


Directed by: 
John Keir
Writing credits: 
Roger Yeaxlee and William Watson
Fiona Cassidy, Roger Mortlock, Joseph Kabui, Sam Kauona and Alexander Downer
Produced by: 
William Watson
Production Management: 
William Watson
Release Date: 
Tuesday, July 5, 2016
Official sites:
Total votes: 1565

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