default-output-block.skip-main
Pacific | Green Party

‘A dedicated champion’: Tributes flow as Efeso Collins dies at 49

The Green MP collapsed at a charity event in Auckland on Wednesday.

Updated

Heartfelt tributes have begun pouring out after the news of Efeso Collins’ sudden death this morning.

Described as “a good man,” a “bold Pacific leader” and a ”passionate advocate,” Collins has long been an advocate for Pacific communities - his participation in Wednesday’s charity event was to raise awareness and funds for clean drinking water to children in the Pacific.

Green Party co-leader, James Shaw expressed his shock at the passing of their colleague.

“We are absolutely devastated.”

“Aotearoa and the Green Party have lost one of the kindest, most dedicated champions of fairness and equality,” he said.

Shaw said Colllins devoted his life to serving and, making a difference in the lives of those he met including his constituents, colleagues, friends and family.

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon offered his condolences to Collins and his grieving family.

“I am truly shocked and saddened at the news of Efeso Collin’s sudden death.”

“Efeso was a good man, always friendly and kind and a true champion and advocate for his Samoan and Auckland communities”

“Our thoughts and deepest sympathies go to his family, his community and his colleagues”

Labour party leader Chris Hipkins says Efeso was a member of Labour Party for a long time and stood for the Party several times.

“I have deep respect for him and politics and am saddened by the news today.”

“This has deeply affected us as a Labour Party, our Pacific caucus members and MP’s across Parliament.”

Ministry of Pacific People chief executive Gerardine Clifford-Lidstone also conveyed her sadness at the passing of a chief in his community.

“I am deeply saddened to hear of the tragic passing of Fa’anānā Efeso Collins this morning.

“We have lost a pillar of the Pacific community in New Zealand, who worked tirelessly serving many communities over the years. He leaves behind a legacy that will continue to inspire us.

“Fa’anānā Efeso was a dear friend and colleague to many Pacific leaders, people and communities, and his loss will be deeply felt.”

Collins collapsed at charity event

Efeso Collins was raising money for ChildFund in its Water Run outside Auckland’s Britomart train station on Wednesday morning when he collapsed after 9am.

Emergency services on the scene responded with CPR and defibrillators and continued working on him an hour before event organisers confirmed his death to the NZ Herald.

“Everyone was just in shock, it happened so quickly,” one organiser said.

“We are obviously very upset and shocked.”

An eyewitness told the Herald the incident happened a few minutes after the race winner was announced.

“They’d just announced the winner and everyone was standing around - then there was a scream. I turned around and he’s collapsed to the ground.”

The outdoor event was attended by a number of high-profile Aucklanders including Dave Letele, The Hits host Matty McLean and Seven Sharp anchor Hilary Barry.

A proud Samoan

Collins holds the Samoan ali’i chief title of Fa’anana from the village of Satufia, Satupaitea in Savaii and has always been involved in the Samoan and Pasifika community - particularly as an advocate for Pasifika youth.

He was elected to the Ōtara-Papatoetoe Local Board in 2013 and became its chairperson before joining Auckland Council as one of two Manukau City ward councillors.

Standing for the Auckland Mayor in 2022, he was runner-up to Wayne Brown. Brown responded to the news in a statement saying Collins was “a bold Pacific leader and champion for South Auckland, as well as a fierce and respectful opponent on the campaign trail for the Auckland mayoralty. Although we competed for the mayoralty, we actually became quite good friends.”

He was elected to Parliament as a Green Party MP at the 2023 election.

Collins, 49, is survived by his wife Fia and two daughters.