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PoliticsNew Zealand

New Zealand lawmaker dies during charity run

February 21, 2024

New Zealand parliamentarian and Green Party member Efeso Collins collapsed and died during a charity race, his party said.

 People stand outside the executive wing of the New Zealand Parliament complex
Collins was elected to the parliament as a member of the Green Party in the 2023 electionImage: Praveen Menon/REUTERS

A New Zealand parliamentarian died suddenly while taking part in a charity race on Wednesday, his colleagues said.

Green Party member Efeso Collins collapsed during a "Water Run" organized in Auckland to raise money for ChildFund, which brings clean drinking water to children in the Pacific.

It was "a cause close to Efeso's heart," the Green Party said in a statement.

"The on-site medical team immediately went to Efeso's aid and did everything they could to revive him."

Collins, a 42-year-old father of two, was born in Auckland and was of Tokelauan and Samoan heritage.

In the 2023 election, he was elected to the parliament as a member of the Green Party.

He also served three terms on the Auckland Council for the Labour Party. He also held the Samoan ali'i chief title of Fa'anana from the village of Satufia, Satupaitea in Savaii.

Lawmakers mourn colleague's passing

"Aotearoa (New Zealand) and the Green Party have lost one of the kindest, most dedicated champions of fairness and equality," Green Party co-leaders James Shaw and Marama Davidson said.

"Efeso devoted his life to serving and making a difference to the lives of those he met, including his constituents, colleagues, friends, and family. He held the deepest respect of the members of all political parties and communities," they added.

New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon said he was "truly shocked and saddened."

"Efeso was a good man, always friendly and kind, and a true champion and advocate for his Samoan and South Auckland communities," Luxon added in a statement.

The New Zealand parliament is set to adjourn until February 27 as a mark of respect.

dvv/ab (AFP, Reuters)