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Pacific | Tangi

Si’i alofa (gifts of love) taken to Green MP

Traffic control in Onehunga as communities roll through to pay respects to a man who gave them an abundance of his time.

Pacific media gather to show their appreciation of Fa’anānā Efeso Collins

Fa’anānā Efeso Collins is lying at Tipene Funeral home in Onehunga, Auckland, with what what Samoans call ‘Si’i alofa’ (gifts of love) to his family.

Tagata Pasifika producer John Utunga says it was important for all Pacific media to share stories, celebrate, and show his family how much his life meant to the Pacific .

Utanga recalled how he did his first story on Fa’anānā, who was then president of the Auckland University Student Association in the 1990′s when he had blonde hair.

“You could see at the time that he was destined for bigger things because he definitely had a way of communicating his ideas.

“Later on, when I interviewed him at Dream Fonoa, he had an amazing relationship with young people and he was so inspiring that these young kids on a cold freezing lake in Hamilton (Lake Karāpiro) just loved being there.”

A Si’i alofa can be a gift from churches, families, and communities and can come in many forms (but not limited to) flowers, money, prayers, or songs.

Fa’anānā is a name he’s called within his Samoan community as opposed to Collins as he’s a chief of his villages, Satufia and Satupa’itea, in Savai’i, Samoa.

RNZ newsreader Marama T-pole says she was honoured to attend as Fa’anānā wasn’t just a chief in his Samoan community but also a champion for her people of Tuvalu.

“I’ve had the privilege of always being able to go to Fa’anānā and get his comments whether it was in the capacity of representing the Auckland University students, advocating for gang members, workers’ rights, young people, people from South Auckland, people from West Auckland.

“Even my Tuvalu community. We didn’t have a village at the Pasifika Festival (Auckland). He was in there fighting for the small Tuvalu community village to say ‘yeah they deserve their own village’. "

It wasn’t just Pacific media present. Broadcaster John Campbell recalled asking him to appear on breakfast show that started at 6:00 am and, without hesitation, he was in their make-up room at 5am the next morning.

Many journalists there mentioned that he was not afraid to help out Pacific media by connecting them to talents that might be fit for certain stories by way of direct messages on social media.

NZ Herald journalist Vaimoana Mase made sure she was free in the afternoon to farewell the man who helped her get into journalism after attending one of the first Dream Fonotaga camps as a 16-year-old.

“We had to fill out these forms. He came up to me the next day: ‘Are you the one who said that you wanted to be a journalist?’ I said yes, he then organised Pacific journalist Vienna Richards to come to the camp to speak to us, and to me. I got to meet her.”

The Green Party MP’s funeral will be on Thursday at the Due Drops Events Centre in Manukau City.

Thousands are expected to turn up and mourners are already overwhelming the streets of Onehunga, with roadblocks around the funeral home area.

In a recent Facebook post, the funeral home has asked the public to be aware of the congestion .

“The road management plan seeks to balance the needs of residents and businesses carrying out their normal activity with the large number of mourners expected over the next few days.”

“The road closure will be in place from Monday, February 26 to Wednesday, February 28 between 7 am and 7 pm. Traffic management staff will be onsite to facilitate traffic flow and provide controlled access to guests, residents, and businesses.”

For more information on the tangi of Fa’anānā, all trusted communications are coming from this Facebook page.