With the mine shut, the Papua forces left and the country spiralled into a brutal civil war that over a decade would kill 20,000. "It's for the Pacific, it's for every continent basically, when you look at it. Kiwi filmmaker Will Watson has been working on his documentary Soldiers Without Guns since 2005, and it's finally making its big-screen debut. Cassidy says it changed the whole culture and tone of those talks. When you look at the fundamentals of this story, this revolution, it connects to every part of the world. He came to wider attention in the documentary film, The Coconut Revolution, which sought to portray the BRA as a band of convivial guerrillas in pursuit … This film is set during the 1990s when the island of Bougainville was locked in a civil war against Papua New Guinea over their copper rights. The Bougainville Civil War, also known as the Bougainville Conflict, was an armed conflict fought from 1988 to 1998 between Papua New Guinea and the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA), who were fighting for independence. He said the film of Bougainville through its civil war and struggle for sovereignty aimed to highlight a unique case of indigenous people fighting for something greater. Rebuilding Bougainville is an excerpt from the two-part documentary Paradise Imperfect made in 2000. Following a period of anarchy the PNG forces returned to areas of Bougainville where they had local support. Bougainville: island of scars The wounds of war are a long time healing. The war has been described as the largest conflict in Oceania since the end of World War II, with an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 Bougainvillean dead. Ten years of armed conflict ensued, and an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 Bougainvilleans died. "It was the first time women were engaged, from their society, in their decision making.". There's footage in the film of the Army performing 'Ka Mate' and Cassidy says they deployed well-known songs: 'Pokarekare Ana', and 'Ten Guitars' too. Fiona Cassidy, a Major and public relations manager in the Army at the time, says that the peacekeeping (or Truce Monitoring Group) mission in Bougainville in 1997 was unprecedented and unusual in many ways. The Bougainville civil war ran from 1990 - 1998 and was one of the most brutal conflicts our Pacific neck of the woods has ever seen, with an estimated 15,000 people (Bougainville's entire population is around 160,000) killed and many suffering human rights abuses at the hands of the Papua New Guinean army. He said the film of Bougainville through its civil war and struggle for sovereignty aimed to highlight a unique case of indigenous people fighting for something greater. Bougainville: The World’s Newest Nation? A number of raskol(criminal) gangs that were affiliated with the BRA, equipped largely with weapons salva… The Coconut Revolution is a 2001 multi-award winning documentary film about the struggle of the indigenous peoples of Bougainville Island during the Bougainville Civil War. An estimated 15,000 to 20,000 Bougainvilleans died as a result of the conflict. The Australian government has estimated that anywhere between 15,000 to 20,000 people could have died in the Bougainville Conflict. Renowned for his role as a commander in the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA), Tororama was at the forefront of much of the BRA’s decade-long civil war against the PNG government. Bougainville Revolutionary Army leader Francis Ona, barefoot and wearing a bush hat, in 1994 during the decade-long civil war in the archipelago. "The Bougainville crisis is unique in that way as well as it gives you very profound keys to address this question, I think. Other than a few close friends, I have kept pretty quiet about the documentary project I started work on in 2014 ().After a 10 year civil war with the Papua New Guinean (PNG) Government, the Autonomous Region of Bougainville will vote for independence between 2015 and 2020 and my goal is to document what life is like there, through my photography, during this period. Photo: Supplied, Marshall Islands fisheries revenue expected to drop 20 percent, Rogue yacht looking for fruit ordered to leave Niue, RNZ Pacific Xmas: 'A tribe without its chief', Number of people joining gangs increased by at least 13% this year, police data shows, Brexit: EU diplomats briefed on Brexit trade deal, Holiday commuters warned of congestion hot spots, Explosion in Nashville 'intentional act', police say, RNZ's pick of best New Zealand pictures of 2020. Because of the war, schools have been closed for some time and there are occasionally periods of extreme violence. Origins of the Bougainville Conflict is an excerpt from the two-part documentary Paradise Imperfect made in 2000. So it was a little bit scary thinking, 'Okay, we're going to a country which has been at war for so long, it still isn't stable, and we're going in unarmed.'". Photo: still from Soldiers Without Guns. Will Watson had been keeping a close eye on the conflict as a young journalism student, and in 2005 he decided he wanted to document the story. The New Zealand-born director - … When the Panguna copper mine opened in central Bougainville in 1972, existing processes of social change were soon amplified by the social impacts of the mine. And I think war and all its dynamics is ugly and harsh, but how do you stop it? The tiny island of Bougainville, a province of Papua New Guinea, could become the world’s newest nation, more than 20 years after a brutal civil war killed thousands of people. WATCH: Anna Coddington celebrates album release with exclusive live performance. "They had been at war for so long that they were killing each other, brother on brother, uncle on uncle, village on village. Part of Cassidy's role was to facilitate community discussion. A film-maker says Bougainvilleans' ongoing struggle to protect their land and rights is an example that the world should take note of. The Bougainville Civil War, also known as the Bougainville conflict, was a multi-layered armed conflict fought from 1988 to 1998 in the North Solomons Province of Papua New Guinea (PNG) between PNG and the secessionist forces of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA), and between the BRA and other armed groups on Bougainville. Paradise Imperfect In 2000 the ABC’s Pacific Correspondent Sean Dorney travelled to the war zones of Bougainville to look at the impact of the nine year secessionist conflict and the fragile peace process. Kirsten Johnstone spoke with Will and one of the major players in the film, Fiona Cassidy. Curriculum Focus top. Alexandre Berman is the co-director of the documentary, Ophir, which took the top prize at the 2020 Tahiti Film Festival. Berman's film is being run later this month at New Zealand's Documentary Edge Festival. There had already been 14 failed peace agreements. It was a fight for the world. But when a distributor came to Watson and said that he thought it should be extended into a feature film, he couldn't say no. What is also unique is the fact that the revolutionaries, as some call them, won the war.". Featured Documentaries. The NZ Defence Force's use of guitars, waiata, and wāhine to help bring peace to Bougainville at the end of a bloody decade-long civil war is explored in a new documentary Soldiers Without Guns. A peace agreement resulted in the creation of the Autonomous Bougainville Government. This gave rise to a local resistance movement that eventually forced the closure of the mine in 1989. MAKING Mr Pip, a film set on the island of Bougainville during the 1990s civil war, represented something of a homecoming for Andrew Adamson. It has been deemed the world’s first successful eco-revolution, and even influenced the basic of the plot for the blockbuster movie Avatar. An anti-war movement evolved on Bougainville during the mid-1990s, spearheaded by womens’ groups, NGOs, and the church. Opened in the 1960s, it was polluting waterways and making land unusable for farmers in the area. According to him, it is important for people in other countries to see Ophir, as the world looks for solutions to the collapse of environmental and cultural systems. The BRA fought a savage civil war for independence against the PNG government during the 1990s. Up until then, women had not been invited to any of the peace talks. An estimated 15,000 to 20,000 Bougainvilleans died as a result of the conflict. The Panguna Mine - then the largest copper mine in the world - was closed, and remains closed today. The movie is based on a novel by New Zealand author Lloyd Jones. "It was not only for themselves. Bougainville should become fully independent from Papua New Guinea in October this year. That's one-sixth of the entire population. ", Still image from 'Ophir' She saw the same faces and was greeted with the same warmth and familiarity she experienced in 1997. The film's viewers can find their own connection to this story, Berman said. Peace has held on the Island. The Bougainville conflict started over an enormous Australian-owned Papua New Guinean-run copper mine. Cast & Filmmakers NZ documentarian Will Watson (Haka and Guitars) tells the story of how the 10-year Bougainville Civil War was ended by some guitar-toting Kiwis. And that's quite unique. Soldiers Without Guns is a documentary about how the NZ Defence Force helped bring peace to Bougainville at the end of a bloody decade long civil war, armed with guitars, waiata, and wahine. The command structure set up by the BRA seldom had any real control over the various groups throughout the island that claimed to be part of the BRA. "And once you've got a bridge, you can start talking.". The countryside was flattened, the towns were a mess, and there were communities of women and children hiding out in the jungle. "When you looked at the country brief, you knew that you were not going into a benign environment. NZ Defence Force Haka A recently released film Mr Pip - which is set during Bougainville's civil war period - has also generated global interest in the island. "The way we (he and co-director Olivier Pollet) wanted to work with the people was in collaboration, giving them the space to tell their story with their own eyes.". Alexandre Berman is the co-director of the documentary, Ophir, which took the top prize at the 2020 Tahiti Film Festival. There's a lot more archival footage in Soldiers Without Guns, and it helps form a bigger picture of the conflict. New feature film Soldiers Without Guns, directed by Will Watson, tells the story of how New Zealand stepped in to resolve the Bougainville civil war. An Australian Broadcasting Corporation production. By 2007 he had a film crew in Bougainville, and Brigadier Mortlock, who had announced and supervised the unarmed mission was on board. 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. Photo: supplied. That resulted in an hour-long TV Documentary Haka And Guitars, which won six international awards. The NZ Defence force was asked by the Bougainvillians to lead the operation, bolstered by soldiers from Fiji and Vanuatu. Last night I was on edge. It wasn't just the "ambassador." It's a struggle that we seldom, if ever, heard of here in the States. During the colonial era Bougainville was occupied by the Germans, Australians, Japanese, and Americans for various periods. Understandably, it made Cassidy a little anxious. A peace agreement resulted in the creation of the Autonomous Bougainville … And those peace accords that NZ ran were the starting point, but we as service men and women, taking a totally different approach, provided a bridge. To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: , for easy access to all your favourite programmes. Much of what I'd read about Bougainville before arriving painted a picture of a troubled and unstable country. In a journal article ‘The Gangs of Bougainville’ by Stan Starygin, Toroama was portrayed as a ‘Rambo’. It wasn't until ten years later that he got funding from Māori Television, that he finished it off. Instead, they packed music and culture. Francis Ona responded by unilaterally declaring independence. This film tells the story of how he worked with music and humour to help the people of Bougainville find the courage to untangle themselves from the web of a bitter civil war. The bulk of its quarter of a million people reside on the main Bougainville Island, which is roughly the size of Jamaica. Few events have rocked the Southwest Pacific like the brutal civil war on Bougainville Island in Papua New Guinea (PNG). To inquire about a licence to reproduce material, visit our Syndication site. In May 1990, Papua New Guinea imposed a blockade on Bougainville. And they didn't take guns. Bougainvillean separatism dates to the 1960s; conflict over a contentious mine became the primary trigger for the Bougainville Civil War, which lasted a decade and concluded in 1998. A Papua New Guinea Department of Defence planning document compiled in early 1990 predicted that the significant suffering produced by the blockade would turn the north and south of Bougainville—who were more distant from the mine and the harms it generated—against central Bougainville, creating a civil-war situation. We were able to get their trust to such an extent that they handed in their guns, and they would talk to each other. By 1988 the tensions had led to violence, guerilla rebels shut the mine down and people started taking sides. Cassidy says that when she returned to Bougainville 20 years on, it was like nothing had changed. He set up the Bougainville Interim Government (BIG), but it had little power, and the island began to descend into disarray. There was also an influx of workers from Papua New Guinea and Australia, who the locals resented. The Bougainville conflict, also known as the Bougainville Civil War, was a multi-layered armed conflict fought from 1988 to 1998 in the North Solomons Province of Papua New Guinea (PNG) between PNG and the secessionist forces of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA), and between the BRA and other armed groups on Bougainville. Assisted by moderate leaders on all sides, Bougainville’s burgeoning civil society was able to slowly develop a framework for peace. For much of the civil war, Phillip has been broadcasting programs with music and news from a Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) perspective. It was a fight for fundamental things somehow. One month on from the Christchurch terrorist attack, director Will Watson's film comes at tragically perfect time. The conflict was described by Bougainvillean President John Momis as the largest conflict in Oceania since the end of World War IIin 1945, with an estimated 15,000–20,000 Bougai… Fiona describes seeing the debris of war as they flew into the island. The movement is described as the "world's first successful eco-revolution" and has drawn parallels with the conflict depicted in the 2009 film, Avatar. … Conflict over the Panguna mine became the primary trigger for the Bougainville Civil War (1988–1998), which resulted in the deaths of up to 20,000 people. When war on the remote Papua New Guinea Island of Bougainville ended, the combatants invited the international community to send in a peace-keeping force on one condition: they come unarmed. And they wanted it stopped. The recovery process has been slow though, and there will be a referendum to decide whether Bougainville should become fully independent from Papua New Guinea in October this year. Last year Ona claimed to have been made King of Bougainville in a coronation ceremony, and is now making another bid for political power. "When the NZ led mission went in, what it did was it created space. It was also a sharing of culture. They included more women in their troops than usual because Bougainville is a matrilineal society: land is passed from mother to daughter. The NZ Army has had a very strong Māori culture since WW1, and so they included haka and waiata. The Coconut Revolution relays the academically underexposed Bougainville Civil War, in Papua New Guinea. The BRA is the main separatist force in Bougainville, declaring independence from PNG in 1990 after PNG forces withdrew from the country. It actually was hostile. On Bougainville, where thousands died during the Pacific’s bloodiest conflict since the end of the Second World War, the fighting is over—but the task of rebuilding has only just begun. He took another trip over with Fiona Cassidy. 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