The 14-year-old Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands is wrapping up this week.
The Solomon Islands once faced difficult and testing times but 14 years after an Australian-led rescue mission, the flickering flame of order and nationhood again burns bright.
With those words, Governor-General Peter Cosgrove reflected on the significance of the 15-country Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) wrapping up this week.
The exercise came with a $2.8 billion price tag for Australia but as former prime minister John Howard once noted, it was one of his government's "finest foreign policy achievements".
Rampaging violence, lawlessness and ethnic tensions were tearing the Solomons apart at the turn of the century.
RAMSI was a joint military and policing mission aimed at restoring order and removing thousands of guns from the streets.
Sir Peter, who was Defence Force chief at the time, told the RAMSI closing ceremony in Honiara on Thursday getting to this point had not been easy.
"Through difficult and testing times the flickering flame of order and nationhood was tended, protected and nurtured," he said.
"And today it once again burns bright."
Australian Federal Police commander Greg Harrigan headed up RAMSI from December 2013 to December 2015.
His stint in the Solomons coincided with a shift to training and mentoring as local police took over the security role and were re-armed for the first time in a decade.
He recalled a "baptism of fire" in his first fortnight.
A wooden ferry with the capacity to carry 90 passengers but 300 aboard sunk and the scramble began to rescue them.
"It sunk around dusk in waters known for sharks," Commander Harrigan told AAP.
"The phone call came from a woman with a mobile hanging onto the mast of the ship as it was sinking."
Every person was rescued including a mother and young daughter separated during the chaos.
"It was a Christmas miracle," he said.
His next major event was a reconciliation ceremony to restore trust between police and locals after an old shooting incident during ethnic tensions at a village on the Weather Coast.
"There was tribal dancing and pigs on spits ... it was a great opportunity to learn about the lifestyle," Commander Harrigan said.
Solomon Island officers went on to train police from Nauru and other Pacific nations in public order management.
The ongoing RAMSI policing legacy also extends to fire trucks, boats, vehicles and the decommissioning of old police cells in rusted out containers in favour of new blocks that meet human rights standards.
Commander Harrigan left the Solomon Islands with a hole-in-one golf trophy, a deeper understanding of World War II history and a sense of gratitude and hope.
"It's a beautiful place and has lots of potential but has a little time to go to truly blossom," he said.
Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare said the end of the mission marked a "moment of truth" for his country, a "moment when we must begin the arduous journey of nation building on our own".
He noted the past 14 years had been expensive and eventful, costing Australian and New Zealand taxpayers billions but it was a story of success.
"Yes, there were times when the continuation of the project was threatened but the good news is that the project was successfully completed," he said. "The final chapter has been written."