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In memory of Fa’anānā Efeso Collins

Green MP Fa’anānā Efeso Collins died on Wednesday, 21 February during a charity event in Auckland. He is remembered for his leadership and passion for community, a tireless advocate for the rights and wellbeing of Pasifika people. Le Va Board co-chair, Josiah Tualamali’i, has shared some thoughts below to honour his memory.

Fa’anānā Efeso Collins

“I met Fa’anānā after the Canterbury earthquakes. I think I must’ve been about 17 or 18. He was doing some work to help our Pacific communities recover, so I think of him in the context of 13 years since February 22 2011 too. Since then I have been one of lots and lots of people he made time for. I know everyone he was with felt we were the only focus in those conversations – he just wanted to support.

I organised for him to Zoom into a University of Canterbury Politics Masters class in 2021. This was during the essential vaccine roll out in Auckland, which he was so critical in helping lead. After our opening he said, “I came because all Samoans are related and, if I didn’t, I knew I’d get in trouble with Josiah’s parents.” Haha, we aren’t literally related as far I know, he nurtured all of our community like that, especially younger leaders, and always put others at ease with his humour.

We had been messaging recently about protecting all the efforts made to honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi. As one of our Matai living here, and as an educator, he took personal responsibility as he wanted all tauiwi to protect Te Tiriti and he was absolutely focused on doing this in his three years in Parliament.

Every good word spoken about him over these days is true – he was a genuine servant leader. I’m very sad our community no longer has him to laugh with us (and at us at times haha), for the generational and community bridging he enabled, especially for our Rainbow Pacific peoples which was different than what he had been brought up with in church youth movements, his living Christian faith shone through as an adult.

Fa’anānā’s maiden speech is a precious wero I would please ask you to listen to and reflect on. I believe we should all be seeking what Fa’anānā is.

Fa’afetai tele lava lau afioga rangatira Fa’anānā. Moe mai ra. Ia manuia lou malaga.”

Le Va will be extending alofa on behalf of the whole Wise Group when members of our team attend the celebration of Fa’anānā’s life on Thursday 29 February from 12pm at the Due Drop Events Centre, responding to the precious open invitation to everyone from his family. Our hearts and prayers are with Fa’anānā’s beloved wife, daughters and aiga.

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