He enjoyed little peace when he led the then warring Labour Party, but former leader David Shearer is working hard to bring peace to a place where the consequences of division are a lot more perilous than a few crushed egos and shattered dreams.
Shearer, who led the Labour Party for just under two years before resigning ahead of a scheduled no-confidence motion by the caucus, has just ended his first year leading the United Nations' mission in civil war-ravaged South Sudan.
In New Zealand last week, fears were raised of an icecream shortage, a 40-year-old man couldn't buy non-alcoholic beer at the supermarket because his wife, 33, didn't have ID, and a woman paid $120 for an 11km Uber ride.
In South Sudan, six aid workers were feared kidnapped while helping with food security work and more than 300 families escaped to the Democratic Republic of Congo when shooting began on Sunday.
Among them was Cecelia Senye, who left her pot of maize burning on the fire as she and her three children fled through a forest and joined the two million other South Sudanese to leave in the last four years.
"I was only thinking: 'Get to Congo',", she told the New York Times.
As the special representative of the Secretary-General and the head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, Shearer is working to help people like Senye.
He's in charge of a peacekeeping operation made up of about 17,000 people, two-thirds of whom are troops, Shearer told the Herald on Sunday.
"What we are trying to do here ... protect civilians, because so many civilians are being killed or have died through malnutrition and disease, and ... try and build peace at the ground level while also trying to get the political operators and parties and Government together to be able to negotiate and forge a peace agreement."
The former Mt Albert MP lives with almost 3000 others in a compound in Juba, the capital.
The compound is surrounded by barbed wire and guard towers, and next to the settlement known as the Protection of Civilians' site — with 38,000 vulnerable people, among 215,000 protected in special camps in the country.
"In the rainy season, when it was raining really heavily, I'd wake up in the middle of the night and think, you know, those poor people living under plastic sheeting. I'm in a warm house and they're being bucketed down on. It's a miserable existence."
His focus was making sure the military force was strong and seen.
"The other day we sent in a patrol on a mission to a place where we knew there was going to be fighting. Just by us being there, we know that the fighting decreased and that probably saved many lives."
He was always hopeful — both for peace and that they were making a difference.
"We are literally saving thousands of people's lives just by helping get those humanitarian supplies out, by protecting people, getting out on patrols and giving people confidence, by bringing lots of small groups together."
Kiwis could help by supporting agencies working in the country, such as the Red Cross, World Vision, Save the Children and Oxfam. Shearer, who previously worked for the UN in conflict zones including Rwanda, Iraq and Kosovo, will continue to do his bit, signing on for another year.
As for his former Labour colleagues, now in Government, Shearer said "good on them".
But he had no regrets about his decision to leave.
"I really think we are making a difference and this is a huge organisation that is saving lives, building peace, helping to build a country.
"It's an immense opportunity. It's something I've wanted to do my whole life."