Oleksandr Kirichuk is a master distiller, sailor and the Honorary Consul of Ukraine in New Zealand.
On most days, he's busy distilling and bottling his vodka, whiskey and rum at his fully solar-run distillery north of Auckland. These days though, he's had his hands full with fundraising for the Stand with Ukraine campaign.
Listen to his full story on this week's Voices:
Alex, as he's known, grew up in the coastal city of Odesa of USSR – part of Ukraine today. "Odesa is the capital of jokes we say" Alex says proudly. But far from funny was his early career when he was a nuclear power plant engineer at sites like Chernobyl.
By 1991 when the Soviet Union broke up, life as Alex, his wife and his daughter Victoria knew it, had changed forever.
"It was a difficult time" he says reflecting on the ten years he continued to live in Odesa.
Alex and his family eventually arrived as immigrants to New Zealand in 2002.
Nuclear-free NZ didn’t offer much by way of immediate career choices for Alex, but luckily his love for sailing and engineering were about to come handy.
Listen to the full interview with Alex on how his life took him from nuclear plant inspection in the former Soviet Union to serving the Ukranian community of New Zealand: