‘Hope for the future and peace’
Poets, children and musicians have banded together in Te Aroha to support people thousands of kilometres away, in the Ukraine.
Waikato’s Future Te Aroha community centre is planning to donate all proceeds from a community fundraiser to Relief Aid New Zealand for those in Ukraine.
‘‘It’s going to be a real community event,’’ Lynne Renwick said. ‘‘I think what we want to do is show that there is support, I think it’s about hope for the future and peace.’’
For twenty years Renwick has been part of the Future Te Aroha community centre, which was bought by the community for its community as a charitable trust.
They planned to host an entertainment evening for all groups and ages to create positivity and empathy in light of an otherwise confronting situation in Ukraine.
‘‘There was a group of people that suggested it, the idea was to do some fundraising and the fact that every little bit is going to help,’’ she said.
‘‘We take the theme of ‘Aroha’ from our local mountain for ourselves, our family, community and environment and the world.
‘‘It’s a piece of entertainment... Different people are contributing different skills, we’ve got a poet, we’ve got someone who does audience participation, we’ve got musicians, the children want to do something.’’
Ukrainian Alina Dreksler has lived in Hamilton for the past six years after fleeing her homeland of Crimea when it was occupied by Russia. She has watched from afar as parts of her home country have been destroyed amongst the conflict.
‘‘Eight years ago we lost our home... after we moved to New Zealand,’’ she said.
‘‘When I saw this news about the war that had started and Russia entered Ukraine, it felt like we were losing our home again.’’
Dreksler contributed to a large bake sale with local Hamilton residents for Ukraine.
‘‘Our goal was to raise money to purchase medical equipment for a hospital in the Ukrainian city of Chernihiv.
‘‘We organised a bake sale to raise money for Ukraine...we have raised $5000 and we have already ordered the medical monitor and we’re waiting for the monitor to be delivered.
‘‘The children, adults and other patients need a new patient monitor because the old one was destroyed due to shelling attacks,’’ Dreksler said.
Chairman of The Ukrainian Association of New Zealand, Yuriy Gladun, has been living in New Zealand for 21 years and said, although nothing will ever be enough for those impacted in Ukraine, the efforts made so far by the New Zealand Government in regard to aid and financial support have been appreciated.
‘‘We are very happy with the process because it was not just done once and forgotten, it was three or four times that announcements were made with different additional measures to help Ukraine,’’ Gladun said.
‘‘The start was slow because nobody knew what the reality of that war is, but as more news came in and more shocking and terrible disasters came, people started to understand what it is and that the people really need help.
‘‘In this equation, there are two sides, one side is to help somebody and the other side is to do something.’’
It was amazing, Gladun said, that local communities in New Zealand were contributing towards support for Ukraine.
He said for those not in Ukraine, it can feel impossible to sit back and do nothing, so he supports those who want to do what they can to help.
‘‘It is amazing, it is absolutely amazing.‘‘
‘‘When we are old and preparing to see god, we will ask ourselves what were you doing back then when people were being killed, when people were fighting, when people were suffering... What did you personally do? This is a very important question,’’ said Gladun.