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Soldiers Without Guns

Film (Full Length and Trailer) – 2019


The Bougainville civil war raged for a decade, with locals split over the impact of an Australian-owned copper mine. In 1997 New Zealand was asked to broker a peace deal and the NZ Defence Force tried a new approach: the quota of female soldiers was boosted, and they were armed with Māori culture and music. This feature documentary reveals extraordinary stories of using haka and song to connect with war-ravaged locals, and how the women of this matrilineal society were key to finding peace. The award-winning film was a 13-year passion project for Will Watson; he expanded it from his 2016 TV doco Haka and Guitars.

Before the war, it was just an ordinary, simple beautiful place where people loved each other.
– Marcelline Kokiai, who fled into the mountains with her children, when war began

Key Cast & Crew

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Matt Donaldson

Creative Producer, Story Development

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Cassandra Roberts

Writer, Editor, Script Development, Associate Producer

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John Keir

Producer, Story Development

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Lucy Lawless


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Ben Wildish

Editor, Story Development

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Will Watson

Director, Writer, Camera Operator, Producer

See all 30 credits

Produced by

TMI Pictures


TMI Pictures


'This film is dedicated to my beautiful daughters Sophie and Jas' - Director Will Watson


Music Director Chante Neblett

Features songs by The Black Seeds, Tiki Taane, Fat Freddy's Drop, Kora, Trinity Roots, The House of Kramit, Tomorrow People, Matiu Te Huki, Gemma Celeste & Tatok Bamboo Band