Tagata Pasifika

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Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

South Auckland local board pay tribute to former councillor Collins

Fa’anānā Efeso Collins was a former Manukau ward councillor, and was actively involved in the community. Photo: Chris McKeen/Supplied
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Local Democracy Reporting | Free Public Interest News Service

A South Auckland local board has paid tribute to former Manukau ward councillor Fa’anānā Efeso Collins, calling him a true servant of South Auckland.

The Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board made last minute changes to their first business meeting of the year on Wednesday to pay tribute to Fa’anānā, the name he was locally known by.

The New Green MP died suddenly at the age of 49, while taking part in a charity event.

The board had a set agenda that included deputations from several community groups, but decided to defer them to the next meeting to pay tribute to Fa’anānā.

Emotional members called him a shining light who connected well with the community, especially young people, and spoke highly of the work he did in Manukau.

Chairman Tauanu’u Nanai Nick Bakulich said he was their councillor during Auckland’s toughest times – the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ihmātao campaign and the floods.

He said they initially planned to acknowledge Fa’anānā’s maiden speech last week at their first meeting.

“He would come into see us during the floods, a year ago, and say, ‘please pass on my regards to the team’,” Bakulich said.

“Whilst this is a very sad day, he actually died in public service which I suppose if we look back in the days to come, everyone can reflect in saying that he died doing what he was born to do – to serve others.”

Joe Glassie-Rasmussen spoke about Fa’anānā’s great sense of humour.

“He’s a mocker, he always liked to mock me.”

He said Fa’anānā was a people’s person, future-focused and had a strong faith – three things he admired about him.

“Amazing legacy, amazing leadership, he inspired me, but not only me, my two younger daughters as well.”

Makalita Kolo spoke about Fa’anānā’s popularity with young people.

“Fa’anānā has always been seen by young people. My daughter, she’s 22, and Fa’anānā was one she used to go to.”

She said he helped connect the Pacific diaspora in New Zealand to the world.

Togiatolu Walter Togiamua said Fa’anānā portrayed everything Pasifika – courageous, articulate and was always about growing mana at every opportunity he got.

Local democracy reporting

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