On the 24th of August, we celebrate Ukraine's Independence Day.

Photographer Yaryna, a Ukrainian living in Wellington, has shared a photo project to show support for Ukraine from New Zealand. Over the last few weeks, she has been capturing portraits of different people living in New Zealand wearing Ukrainian vyshyvankas, displaying their solidarity with Ukraine.

"When the war started in Ukraine on the 24th of February 2022, I, like many others, was shocked and fell into a deep depression. It took me over a year to recover. Even now, as I read the daily news about Ukraine being devastated by the Russian invasion, I constantly think about how I can support my country and its people while being in New Zealand. As a photographer, my camera becomes my weapon, conveying narratives through my photographs. Through the sharing of my images, my aim is to showcase that compassion and kindness transcend borders. I wish for my photography to serve as a reminder that collective efforts, no matter how small, can significantly impact the support for a nation in dire need.

I encourage you to take a moment to view the photographs and extend your support to Ukraine in whatever diverse ways you can. The solidarity shown for Ukraine in New Zealand has illuminated a path towards a brighter future. That's why I chose the caption for my photo project, “Kia Kaha Ukraine”

This phrase originates from the indigenous language of the Māori people of New Zealand. It translates to "Stay Strong" or "Be Strong" in English. This heartfelt message of support and encouragement from New Zealand to Ukraine signifies solidarity. It embodies encouragement and support, uplifting Ukraine in the face of challenges, adversity, or difficult circumstances. "Kia Kaha Ukraine" serves as a means of expressing unwavering support and resilience in the face of adversity, and these photos are a way of expressing empathy, hope, and unity. All Ukrainians are grateful for such support from New Zealand.


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