Examination Fellow, University of Oxford and Author of “The New Zealand Project”
Pursuing Peace in Godzone is a powerful book with important messages for our time. It recounts not one tradition, but multiple traditions, of activism for peace within New Zealand Christian communities since the Second World War. The book is not scared to confront uncomfortable truths about contemporary Christians’ views, or historical Christian complicity in injustice. But it also provides a rich reservoir of stories, presented with sensitivity and rigour, about the individuals, campaigns, and perspectives from which the modern peace movement in New Zealand has gained its force. Edited thoughtfully by Geoffrey Troughton and Philip Fountain, the book shows that peace – while never completely preserved or protected – has been supported through brave individuals (such as the Waihopai Three), institutional change, and intergenerational and intercultural leadership. You do not need to be a Christian to appreciate the enriching and inspiring contribution that this book makes to activism and scholarship in Aotearoa New Zealand.
President, American Academy of Religion and Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics, Mercer University
Pursuing Peace in Godzone is for this American Christian ethicist a fascinating combination of the familiar and unfamiliar. Its concise, fascinating essays describing Kiwi peacemaking activities since WWII bring back many parallel memories for this veteran of 1980s US anti-nuclear peacemaking. But New Zealand peacemakers managed to persuade their nation to go nuke-free. We here in the US certainly did not. And Kiwi activists led the nation in serious efforts to make peace with the indigenous Maori people, leading to a culture that is today so very much more integrative of indigenous cultures than is the United States. A fascinating work for all who are concerned with Christian peacemaking.
Author and Investigative Journalist
How did New Zealand become a country where most people are sceptical of militarism, prefer peacekeeping to joining foreign wars and strongly opposed joining the 2003 invasion of Iraq? An important part of the answer is the work of the Christian peace campaigners who are the subject (and in some cases the authors) of this well written and engaging book. Although always numerically small, they have had a major influence on the growth of the tolerant, non-militaristic, nuclear free country we live in today.
Principal, Wellington College
I warmly endorse Pursuing Peace in Godzone to anyone interested in New Zealand stories, and ideas about protest, social action, peace-making, decolonisation and reconciliation. The book is filled with material that could be utilised effectively in schools, and contains many examples of how a less conflict-centric approach can be taken to the teaching of New Zealand history.
A review of Pursuing Peace in Godzone by Kathy Watson from The Reader, the Booksellers New Zealand blog.
‘Each chapter looks at a different aspect of the issue and so varied styles, focus and passion are part of the writing. The book may be read in chapters to allow time to think and even discuss the ideas presented. I was so taken by the content that I read the whole thing over a day…Sometimes it is good to read something different, something that makes us look at our own lives and ask how we can be better. This is the book.’
A review in Honest History 23 May 2018 by Dr Douglas Hynd – Adjunct Research fellow, Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture.