A Mākaro Press publication
A war hero who refused to fight, students who stood up to Hitler, a ship that sailed into a nuclear test zone, a whole town which practiced non-violence. Peace Warriors tells the dramatic stories of people who chose non-violent resistance in times of conflict; stories of young men and women from New Zealand and around the world.
Young readers will discover that peaceful resistance can be as effective as military force, and that people power can change history.
A compelling, empowering book, which is both an absorbing read and an affirmation of human decency. I’m usually reluctant to use the word ‘inspiring’, but these stories of courage, endurance and fidelity from all around the world totally deserve that accolade. David Hill
For readers over ten years, with colour images, discussion pages and useful links to other resources.
Will be enjoyed by readers and classes with an interest in:
- World and NZ history
- Civil rights
50% of royalties from the sale of this book go to Oxfam.
Read an interview with Raymond about writing Peace Warriors.
Available in hard copy here, from Mākaro Press.
Te Whiti sits on the ground inside the village. Behind him sit 2,000 men, women and children who live in Parihaka. Warlike sounds erupt from the green hills.
Te Whiti sees hundreds and hundreds of armed soldiers marching along the road towards the village. His chest tightens when he sees a wagon groaning with ammunition. Worse still, on top of the hill, the barrel of a cannon is aimed at them. Te Whiti looks at the villagers. He’s told them not to fight back if the soldiers attack — can peace be a shield against bullets and cannon fire?
The column of troops reaches the main gate only to find it blocked by 200 children singing loudly. An officer on horseback gallops straight towards the singing children. He pulls his animal up inches from the choir, spraying dust in their faces. ‘Advance!’ he orders, and the troops march forward, the lines of children parting neatly. They enter the village but another surprise bars the way: groups of young girls playing with long skipping ropes. The officer has had enough. He leaps off his horse and snatches one end of a skipping rope, but the girl holding the other end jerks the rope from his hands. The enraged officer tackles the girl to the ground, scoops her up and dumps her at the roadside. The troops can barely hide their smiles.
As they march further into the village, women and children walk up to the men and offer fresh bread. A few accept the gift. Finally they arrive at the crowd of 2,000 villagers, and a government minister reads them a warning from the Riot Act:
All persons unlawfully, riotously, and tumultuously assembled together, to the disturbance of the peace, have one hour to disperse or receive a jail sentence of hard labour for life.
Te Whiti steps forward and says, ‘Though the lions rage, still I am for peace.’
Would I fight to save my family?
There’s a little story sometimes used to support the idea of war. Imagine a burglar breaks into my house and threatens my family – surely I would fight to save them. In the same way, it’s argued that if a country is attacked, surely it should fight back. The plot of any story has many possible endings. yes, I’d do absolutely everything in my power to protect my family. I might try and restrain or disarm the intruder. I could negotiate with him or I could help my family escape or hide. but I’d definitely call the police.
What I would not do is kill the burglar, go to his home and kill his family, burn down his house and then bomb his entire neighbourhood. In the same way, wars always kill the innocent; they’re never limited to soldiers fighting each other. It’s up to us to choose how the story ends.