Abstract: According to Oleksandr Kirichuk, Ukraine’s honorary consul in Auckland, by the first week of March 2022, over 500 New Zealanders had volunteered to fight in Ukraine against Russia. The exact number of New Zealand veterans fighting in Ukraine fluctuates on a weekly or even daily basis as NZ veterans are killed, wounded or simply decide they have done enough and return home. However, from interviews with veterans, it can be estimated that there are somewhere between 15–25 New Zealanders posted to front line combat units at any particular time. The motivations of New Zealand veterans fighting in Ukraine are complex and multifaceted, reflecting a unique blend of personal, political, and cultural factors. This article explores the underlying motivations of these New Zealand veterans to engage in a conflict far from home; delving into the various personal, social, and political factors that have influenced their decision to serve in Ukraine.
Key words: Ukraine conflict, New Zealand veterans, New Zealand Defence Force, International Legion of Territorial Defence