For months, Roberta Fraser has been using buckets to catch drips from her leaking roof each time it rained.

The Waipawa woman couldn't afford to fix the roof as her husband John had passed away last year. He was a Korean War veteran and long-serving member of the Waipawa and Districts RSA.

Mrs Fraser had no family in New Zealand to call on for support and so the RSA came to the rescue - and the house is now watertight.

Waipawa and Districts RSA president Gwyn Burton said the RSA kept a close eye on its widows and during follow-up welfare visits to Mrs Fraser he became aware that there were serious problems with her roof.


"She told me the roof was leaking so I went around there on a night when it was raining heavily, and she had buckets on the bed and in the kitchen to catch the drips. Her roof was seriously shot," Mr Burton said.

It was confirmed that the roof would need complete replacement, with one quote costing it at $9000.

With the help of a $5000 grant from RSA welfare funds and a $1400 grant from Waipawa and Districts RSA it was possible to get the roof replaced, with Mrs Fraser paying just $600.

"This has made me very, very happy. I am so grateful to RSA, they have been so good to me and to everyone who has helped," Mrs Fraser said.

Thousands of volunteers will be out in full force this week as the Poppy Appeal kicks off throughout the country.

RSA national support services manager Mark Compain said 100 per cent of the Poppy Appeal donations went toward helping improve the quality of life of these people, whether or not they are members of the RSA.

He said New Zealand currently had 31,000 veterans - 11,000 from the period from World War II to the Vietnam War, and 20,000 had served in campaigns post-Vietnam.

The 2016 Poppy Appeal marks the 100th anniversary of the National RSA in New Zealand.

To donate, keep an eye out for the street appeal or people can contribute $3 by texting POPPY to 4662, or online at