Green MP and advocate for Pasifika community Fa'anānā Efeso Collins has died

Green MP and advocate for the Pasifika community Fa'anānā Efeso Collins has died after collapsing at a charity event in Auckland on Wednesday morning. 

Collins was taking part in ChildFund Water Run in Britomart at 9am on February 21 to raise funds to support local communities in the Pacific when he collapsed. 

Collins, 49, is married with two children and was elected to Parliament as a Green Party MP in the 2023 election. 

Having a bold voice in the Pasifika community, the New Zealand-born Samoan worked hard to represent their communities and was known for bringing his south Auckland swag into Parliament.  

In his role, his goals included genuine change and meeting the community's aspirations. 

Collins contested the Auckland Mayoralty in 2022, but lost to Wayne Brown who secured the role with a 54,000 vote majority. 

After the loss, Collins said he believed his ethnicity may have been a factor. 

His first foray into local politics was as a member of the Ōtara-Papatoetoe Local Board in 2013.  

After one term on the board, he was elected to Auckland Council for the Manukau ward, where he was the councillor until 2022. 

Collins was born in Auckland's Middlemore Hospital, down the road from his family's current apartment in Ōtāhuhu.   

He told Newshub last year that as the youngest of six in a Samoan Family "you have very little voice, if any voice at all". 

Collins' mother was a cleaner at Middlemore and his father was a Pentecostal church minister and a taxi driver who worked long hours.    

His father's involvement in the church meant the family's life was split between two distinct worlds. 

"A lot of things we were doing at school kind of contradicted what we were doing at home," he said at the time. 

Collins and his family spent time throughout his childhood between Auckland and Samoa. 

"We were challenged by the New Zealand world and the Samoan world, trying to get the best of both and understand that we were navigating two very different cultural worlds," he said.   

He played softball and rugby as a child, "but in comparison to my brothers I was useless, so I needed to find something for me that I could be known for".   

This led him to try debating, where he excelled at University.   

"I met so many different people at University and I realised there were lots of people who didn't go to church," he said.   

While studying metaphysics, Collins was told by his lecturer God is a woman, "And I thought 'Oh my gosh, wait till I tell dad that God's a woman'.   

"So, I went home, and he said, 'Oh my goodness, what are we going to do?' We were confounded by all of this."   

Collins saw University as the coming together of different ideas, but faith has remained a core part of his life.   

"As I've evolved as a person, I've realised there are some things that I held really strongly, and now those are things that I'm flexible with," he said.   

Around 10 years ago, Collins came out against marriage equality.   

"As my thinking has evolved, I accept that people love in different ways, that people are allowed to love the way they choose."   

Collins had apologised to many, particularly the Pasifika rainbow community, "because I know people were hurt by those comments". 

Collins was married to his wife Fia for 11 years.   

In November 2023, Fia told Newshub she was "drawn to his passion for people and he was really down to earth".   

Fia added that while the family was proud of Collins' achievements, his life in the public eye could be "quite challenging for our family.   

"I'm quite vocal and sometimes being in the public eye makes me feel like that voice is silenced.  

"In certain situations, you have to look and sound a particular way," she told Newshub. 

During the 2022 Auckland mayoralty race, in which Collins was a frontrunner against Wayne Brown, his family faced death threats, one of which was taken seriously by police.    

"Our family has been through so much, and I remember the challenge around the death threats has been that they had to put up with them," a tearful Collins said at the time. 

"We choose to be advocates, but it comes at quite a personal cost." 

"I often think of our eldest daughter, because we sat down, and she asked, 'Why would people want to kill us'."   

Collins said that he felt a huge sense of responsibility for his family, "and it breaks me that they have to go through this.   

"That's an experience that we've managed and navigated and I'm grateful to Fia and my girls because they've never walked away from this passion we have to speak for the community."   

With a lack of Pacific Island representation in the Government, Collins was determined to be a strong voice from the opposition benches.   

"People are relying on us to speak on their behalf so that's what we're going to do," he said.  

Collins said that he "brings the hood" to Parliament.   

"When I say the hood, I mean I bring attitude, I bring a strong voice, and I bring a cultural relevance and respect that we might not have seen before."   

Collins believed people didn't know what the real South Auckland was like.    

"I think we're pretty hip, pretty cool, we're relaxed but we are strong and we're bold and that's what I'm going to bring to Parliament," he said at the time.