New Zealand may have a historical reputation for free speech and thought, but the maker of a documentary on World War II conscientious objectors says it wasn't always the case.
Russell Campbell, director of Sedition: The Suppression of Dissent in World War 2 New Zealand, says the way pacifists were treated by the wartime Labour Government may surprise.
"New Zealanders view their country as one of the freest in the world, where people can hold contrary opinions and express them. But that wasn't the case during World War II," said Dr Campbell, a Victoria University researcher.
"This film allows many pacifists and conscientious objectors, who were incarcerated in the prisons and detention camps for their anti-war views, to tell their stories, while the actions of the Government in suppressing dissents are analysed by leading historians and political scientists," he said.
Sedition will have its world premiere on the New Zealand International Film Festival circuit in Auckland. Festival director Bill Gosden was pleased the film was in the programme.
"Honouring those who labour outside the mainstream is very much our purpose, and Sedition does exactly that," he said.
* Sedition premieres in Auckland tomorrow, with a further screening on Sunday.
It will screen in Wellington at Te Papa on July 30.