New Zealand Rugby sadness at passing away of Peter 'Fats' Fatialofa

Getty Images     07 Nov 2013     Getty Images

New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew said news that Peter “Fats” Fatialofa had died in Samoa early today was met with shock and sadness.

“Our thoughts go to his wife Anne and to their eight children. Peter remains one of the most loved personalities in rugby particularly in Samoan communities both in Auckland and in Samoa.

“Peter was one of those great characters who was genuine, honest and what you saw was what you got. A hard and tough player and leader on the field, Peter had a huge heart for his beloved Samoa.

“While Peter’s loyalties were very strongly with Samoa Rugby, we are very proud of the contribution he has made to rugby in New Zealand and around the Pacific.

“Our thoughts go to his family and to the Samoan communities of Auckland and Samoa who no doubt will be devastated to have lost one of their most treasured legends.”

In 2012, Fatialofa helped to host an official visit to Samoa by Rugby World Cup 2011 All Blacks Coach Graham Henry, All Black Victor Vito and the Webb Ellis Cup.

Peter Fatialofa - 26 April 1959 - 6 November 2013

Papali’itele Peter Fatialofa played 71 games for Auckland, 34 Tests for Manu Samoa and 17 games for Counties. He had been a forward coach for Manu Samoa, and was currently coaching the Manusina Samoan women’s rugby team towards next year’s Women’s Rugby World Cup in France. In 1996 he was recognised for his services to rugby when he was made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

In more recent years, Fatialofa has been commuting between his family home in Manurewa and Samoa where he ran his “Fats Tours” adventures and experiences business.

He and his wife Anne ran a moving business specialising in moving pianos. In the official programme of the 1991 World Cup final former Welsh international Eddie Butler picked a World Cup XV. He picked Fatialofa as his loosehead prop, writing: "Fatialofa limped around Cardiff before the first game, but did his war dance on the big day and then went around the World Cup scaring more than just the Welsh. I would make him captain too, a symbol of the arrival of a new nation, and perhaps the end of the old order as we know it."