22 Feb 2024

Praise for Fa'anānā Efeso Collins' efforts to inspire young people

5:54 am on 22 February 2024
Efeso Collins

Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Tributes are pouring in for Green MP Fa'anānā Efeso Collins who is remembered as warm, kind, and an inspiration for Māori and Pasifika communities - particularly rangatahi.

Fa'anānā died after collapsing at a charity event in the Auckland CBD on Wednesday.

Community members say the 49-year-old left an enduring legacy for his South Auckland community - where he served three terms on the local board and as ward councillor before giving his maiden speech in Parliament just a week ago.

In Ōtara where Fa'anānā was born, raised and served his community, his loss is deeply felt.

University student Winiata Walker, who volunteers his time teaching music to kids in Ōtara, said Fa'anānā was always a role model.

"Such a humble man, and from south Auckland to Parliament, that's such a big step for south Auckland," he said.

Walker said Fa'anānā death is a big loss for the communities that relied on him to have their voices heard.

"As our community, we have to fight harder, because he was the change. He was someone we could look up to for change for our community, but since he passed away, I think we have to work together more and work harder for progress," he said.

Winiata Walker

Winiata Walker says he saw Fa'anānā as a role model. Photo: RNZ / Lucy Xia

Twenty-five-year-old Terangi Parima who runs the Ōtara youth hub and Ōtara Kai Village said Fa'anānā was a valuable mentor for rangatahi.

"Empowering our rangatahi to see themselves in spaces that he sat in.

"Empowering our rangatahi to think beyond the lines that have been drawn out for us...he's a legend, an absolute legend," she said.

Terangi Parima who runs the Otara Kai Village and Otara youth hub

Terangi Parima says she will always remember how Fa'anānā encouraged young people to become leaders. Photo: RNZ / Lucy Xia

Parima said she will always remember how he encouraged youth to consider becoming leaders.

"He actually was a significant part in supporting our rangatahi, our youngest rangatahi who ever went for a local board role, to actually step into those spaces, and encourage her," she said.

Parima said it made a difference to have someone like Fa'anānā, who had been through disadvantaged communities like Ōtara, to be in Parliament.

She said he bridged the gaps between political spaces and communities.

Parima said Fa'anānā departed in a way that embodied what he stood for.

"He literally passed away [doing] exactly what he's always done, and what he loves, and that's serving his community and being purposeful," she said.

Read more:

  • Fa'anānā Efeso Collins: 'The giants whose shoulders I stand on'
  • Pasifika leaders remember 'stand-out community leader' Fa'anānā Efeso Collins
  • Parliament brought to standstill by a tsunami of collective grief
  • 'An authentic, genuine, warm man': Flood of tributes for Fa'anānā Efeso Collins
  • Green MP Efeso Collins dies during charity run
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