Kiwis dig deep donating millions of dollars to humanitarian aid in Ukraine

Ukraine is on the minds of many Kiwis and they're proving it by digging deep into their pockets. 

Aid organisations say the amount of money being funnelled into Ukraine from Aotearoa has far surpassed any other conflict. 

Kiwi Mike Seawright is on the ground in Ukraine, the former banker now a humanitarian worker helping at the heart of the world's biggest conflict.

"The fighting situation, the security situation is intense, so we are getting food to those areas - but you have to be extremely careful."

Seawright founded ReliefAid is an aid outfit that goes where many don't currently in Eastern Ukraine, and where many organisations aren't. 

"What ReliefAid specialises in is getting those harder, hotter spots to make sure that we reach families that outer organisations can't, so it comes with lots of challenges and lots of sleepless nights."

This is a humanitarian crisis unseen in modern times.

"We've had over 12 million people displaced in two months, unseen since [the] Second World War."

And this may be why New Zealanders have gotten in behind this conflict like never before, reaching deep.

Seawright's organisation is small compared to most, but Kiwis have donated over $250,000 to ReliefAid.

"We've had massive public support - unprecedented for us - and I would go as far as to say unprecedented for recent conflicts including Afghanistan, which had huge public support.

Many of the major aid organisations Kiwis send money through say the support has been unparalleled. 

Kiwi Owen Pomana, who Newshub did a story with earlier this month, says money from New Zealanders to his Ministry, Ron Mark and the Great Commission Society totals over $100,000.

Red Cross has had over $3 million from Kiwis, and Unicef to date has had nearly $1.5 million. 

World Vision wouldn't share its figure, but said it's one of the largest public appeals they've had.

And there are many other aid organisations that Kiwis send money through. Wairarapa woman Suzie Craig is one of the thousands who's been motivated to help.

"For the first few weeks of the war, I just watched all these women and children fleeing and leaving their husbands behind, and I wanted to do something."

She came up with MayDay gin made with the seed of Ukraine's national flower - the sunflower, combined with native Aotearoa Harakeke seeds.

"This is absolutely amazing, New Zealand is digging deep, doing bake sales, kids in front of their homes selling lollies, lemonade stand-type stuff through to charity auctions for art," Seawright told Newshub.

War shows the worst of humanity, but it can also bring out the best, with people like Mike Seawright and the thousands of generous strangers giving in a time of need.