Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Prime Minister leads tributes for Fa’anānā Efeso Collins 

Fa’anānā Efeso Collins passed suddenly this morning. Photo: government.greens.org.nz. Edit: Ann-Tauilo Motuga /Tagata Pasifika.
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Gladys Hartson | Senior Journalist

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon took to X (formerly Twitter) to pay respects at the shock news of the passing of Green MP Fa’anānā Efeso Collins this morning in Auckland at the age of 49.

PM Luxon wrote, “ I am truly shocked and saddened at the news of Efeso Collins’ sudden death. Efeso was a good man, always friendly and kind, and a true champion and advocate for his Samoan and South Auckland communities.”

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters also paid tribute to the Green MP sending his condolences to his wife and daughters. 

Fa’anānā Efeso Collins’ maiden statement to the House that was delivered on February 15 2024. Photo: NZ Green Party

The co-leaders of the Green Party released a statement also expressing their shock and sadness at his passing.

 “We are absolutely devastated. A beautiful family has lost a dedicated father, husband and community leader. The news today has come as a profound shock to everyone, and our absolute priority is to Efeso’s wife and young girls. Aotearoa and the Green Party have lost one of the kindest, most dedicated champions of fairness and equality.”

Labour Party leader Chris Hipkins says the Labour Party is devastated by the news. 

“I first met Efeso when he was President of the Auckland Student Association in 1999. We connected because of shared values, a love for New Zealand as a country that supports and embraces all people. Efeso was a member of the Labour Party for a long time and stood for the Party several times. I have deep respect for him and his politics and am saddened by the news today.”

Fa’anānā Efeso Collins on leadership and overcoming challenges in an interview with Tagata Pasifika reporter Simone Kaho in 2022

Former colleagues at Auckland City Council are taking time to reflect on the loss of Fa’anānā. City councillor Alf Filipaina remembers the first time he met Fa’anānā. 

“It was years ago at a launch of the State of the Nation for the Salvation Army, and I thought ‘oh my gosh firstly he is well spoken, a very intelligent man.”

“ He is a very good advocate for the community. He is a man of mana, he had the community at heart and always advocated for the South side. But also for Pasifika across Tamaki Makaurau.”

Alf says the council will pay tribute to Fa’anānā in due course. He says for now their love and prayers are with Fa’anana’s aiga.   

Fa’anānā was a regular guest on Tagata Pasifika givng insight into many issues affecting Pacific peoples. Photo: John Pulu/Tagata Pasifika

Of Samoan and Tokelau heritage, Fa’anānā worked in academia at Auckland University for five years before being encouraged to stand in the local body elections in 2013. He successfully won a position on the Ōtara Papatoetoe Local Board and was voted in as Chairperson. 

From 2016 to 2022, he served as an Auckland city councillor for the Manukau ward before making an unsuccessful bid for the Auckland Mayoralty in 2022.

Undeterred, Fa’anānā decided to stand for the Green Party in 2023 and despite being at number 11 on the Party list, he made the cut to become an MP and only made his Maiden speech less than a week ago.

Passionate about South Auckland and the wider Pacific community, he expressed in a previous interview with Tagata Pasifika that he was proud of his roots. 

“You might take the boy out of Manukau, but you will never take Manukau out of the boy. I will never forget my roots. This is about me acknowledging that the journey has been tough and remains tough for the bulk of Aucklanders.”

One of six siblings whose parents had migrated from Samoa to New Zealand, the father of two was vocal around issues of race and prejudice. In 2021, Fa’anānā spoke out challenging the TVNZ programme Police 10/7, saying it was feeding racist stereotypes. His tweet went viral and in the furore that followed, bomb threats were made against him and his family. 

Fa’anānā recalled, “I felt like I was responsible for bringing harm on my girls, on my wife. Immediately we thought, stop, walk away. And it was my wife that said, No. This is our city. That this is the city that has blessed us and invested in us and loved us. And we weren’t going anywhere. We were going to stay and serve and build and love. It’s important for us to see this through’.”

Fa’anana is survived by his wife Fia and their two daughters.

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