Doco examines NZ's role in war

16:00, Mar 11 2014
Soldiers in afghanistan
IMPORTANT DEBATE: A moment in the documentary He Toki Huna: New Zealand in Afghanistan showing New Zealand SAS soldiers in Kabul. 

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.

Annie Goldson
Annie Goldson

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.

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"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 says 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.

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