Small community unites for Ukraine

Southland woman Ini-Isabee Gunn was pleased with the Orepuki community effort to raise $3321 for Ukraine.

A SOUTHLAND woman is heartened with the support of the small community of Orepuki who came together to help people suffering in Ukraine.

Ini-Isabee Gunn visited the European country in 2015 and said she had made friends for life there with whom she kept in close contact.

When the conflicts started there about two months ago, she was saddened and shocked to hear the stories from her friends.

They had fled Kyiv but remained in Ukraine to help their people, she said.

“It has been horrific following their experience since the invasion by Russia… They are doing their best by helping families and volunteers on the ground.”

From the other side of the world, she decided to raise funds to help them to buy and distribute items for Ukraine people in need.

“I basically gave the idea and the community did the rest – really they were amazing.

“They suggested we promote a quiz night so, with the help of various community members, we set up the event at Orepuki tavern.”

In a day, the community raised $3321 in funds which would be sent to Ukraine to buy supplies and protection gear such as helmets and body armour.

“They will purchase and distribute whatever is needed. It can be helmets and body armour things to help keep families and volunteers on the ground safe.”

The success of the quiz night was such that Industri Architectural Design owner Simon Clegg has donated an architectural concept design for a new home, tiny home or renovation, worth $6000.

“We are now running a silent auction to raise further funds.”

Mrs Gunn said these initiatives showed the kindness of her community which she felt proud to call home.

“For me, this is really a special story of small rural communities coming together to support communities on the other side of the globe the kindness I have experienced is immense.”

To find our more about the silent auction, email Mrs Gunn at

The highest bidder would be contacted on May 9, she said.