Doco ex­am­ines NZ’s role in war

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By JENNY LING

A doc­u­men­tary about the con­tro­ver­sial war in Afghanistan is set to hit New Zealand schools.

The award-win­ning doc­u­men­tary He Toki Huna: New Zealand in Afghanistan will soon be avail­able to stu­dents at ev­ery sec­ondary school in the coun­try.

The 80-minute film di­rected and pro­duced by Pro­fes­sor An­nie Gold­son and Kay Ellmers gives an over­view of Kiwi in­volve­ment in the post 9/11 in­va­sion.

It uses in­de­pen­dent New Zealand jour­nal­ist Jon Stephen­son’s reportage on the ground in Afghanistan and in­cludes in­ter­views with front­line sol­diers, mil­i­tary lead­ers, jour­nal­ists, aca­demics and Afghan community lead­ers.

Prof Gold­son, head of Auck­land Univer­sity’s me­dia, film and tele­vi­sion depart­ment, says it will ‘‘help stu­dents en­gage with is­sues vi­tal to New Zealand’’.

‘‘We made the film to stim­u­late de­bate here.

‘‘We fig­ure it’s an im­por­tant film for young peo­ple to con­sider and par­tic­u­larly young peo­ple think­ing of go­ing into the mil­iary or be­com­ing a jour­nal­ist.’’

With the help of Ms Ellmers of Tu­manako Pro­duc­tions, the West­mere res­i­dent se­cured a $5000 grant from the Peace and Dis­ar­ma­ment Ed­u­ca­tion Trust to dis­trib­ute the film to schools for their free use.

It will be sent to schools along with a study guide.

Prof Gold­son says most New Zealan­ders’ knowl­edge of our mil­i­tary en­gage­ment in Afghanistan would have been ac­quired through ‘‘em­bed­ded’’ me­dia re­ports.

There was very lit­tle in­de­pen­dent re­port­ing, she says.

‘‘What we’re do­ing [in the doc­u­men­tary] was ask­ing three things; why did we go, what were we do­ing there, and why did we hear so lit­tle about it?’’

Ten Ki­wis died serv­ing in Afghanistan.

Prof Gold­son


the tim­ing of the doc­u­men­tary, re­leased in 2013, was de­lib­er­ate.

‘‘We’ve been mak­ing the film over the past two years and were al­ways plan­ning to re­lease it as New Zealand troops with­drew, pro­vid­ing an over­view and anal­y­sis of New Zealand’s in­volve­ment.’’

Prof Gold­son and James Brown won the best ed­i­tor award for the film at last year’s Rialto Chan­nel Film Awards.


Im­por­tant de­bate: A mo­ment in the doc­u­men­tary He Toki Huna: New Zealand in Afghanistan show­ing New Zealand SAS sol­diers in Kabul.

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