Hamilton stands with Ukraine, Mayor Paula Southgate says as the city looks at ways to support the country and Ukrainian friends and family in New Zealand.
The city council will continue to light the Victoria Bridge in the Ukrainian colours each night for the next couple of weeks and local peace activist and founder of youth-led peace advocacy movement Rise for Lives, Timi Barabas, 20, has written an open letter to world leaders.
Rise for Lives planned a peace march for Hamilton on Sunday but said it had to cancel because of Covid restrictions.
Southgate says: "We have lit up the bridge in a show of solidarity with Ukraine and Ukrainian friends and family here in New Zealand. I hope this is a comfort for the community. We are also working on following the footsteps of Parliament and put up the Ukrainian flag as soon as we get one."
She says she was saddened by the pictures going around the world of the Russian invasion. "Your heart sinks and you feel very sad, but you also feel like there is not a lot you can do."
Southgate says the council was looking at other ways of support, but there was nothing specific planned yet. "We know that people would like to come together, but public events are problematic under the current Covid rules."
Hamilton resident and chairman of the Ukrainian Association of New Zealand Yurij Gladun was this week at a Ukrainian anti-war protest in Auckland. He says he has seen the bridge lit up and is very touched by the gesture of the council.
"It's heartwarming, I really like it. The Harbour Bridge, War Memorial Museum and Skytower in Auckland were also lit up. It means people are aware, people know about what's going on. This is beautiful."
Gladun, an engineer who has been in New Zealand for more than 20 years, still has family in the Ukraine.
"My sister's family is in the Western Ukraine, 500km from the Russian border, where it is reasonably quiet. I still have contact with them, we call every day.
"Three days ago, the local airport was shelled and my family accommodated six people that couldn't stay at their house anymore. My niece said yesterday, all of them are very nervous. I am very worried about my family and the families of every Ukrainian in New Zealand."
He says his family was not fleeing. "We have great hope and confidence in the Ukrainian army. I am absolutely confident the Ukraine will win."
Barabas, originally from Hungary, has friends in the Ukraine. "It's a very hard time for them. I spoke to some of my friends on Friday, but I haven't heard from them since. They were hiding in a metro station in Kyiv and they can't leave safely. I don't know whether they are okay. I am very worried about them."
Together with two other members of Rise For Lives, she has written an open letter to the leaders of the world that is on the way to the White House. They hope it will also find its way to the Beehive.
"We hope that more people will take action. We all need to take action. [The war] is everybody's problem, people are suffering, people are dying. We need to speak up and make a difference [because] this is only the beginning, it's gonna get a lot worse."
In their letter, Rise for Lives writes: "Dear leaders of the world, We, the youth of the world, are immensely disappointed and concerned. According to the World Food Programme over 42 million people are at serious risk of death due to starvation, yet your biggest concern is starting another unnecessary war to add to our growing list of problems.
"Your children and grandchildren will be ashamed to look you in the eyes because of such atrocious moves to kill the innocent. We do not want or need a war in Ukraine! We do not support a war in Ukraine and we will not stand by and watch it start.
"It's not just about now, and it's not just about you, it's about tomorrow, and it's about us, our rights and our futures."
When Barabas spoke at the Young Labour Conference last year, she gained the attention of Manurewa MP Arena Williams who just spoke to her on Monday about the Ukraine. "I gave her the letter and hope she will present it to the Government."