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Photo sourced from Pacific Rugby Players Facebook page

Players from the Pacific Legends and NZ Barbarians will go head-to-head on Saturday in the curtain raiser for the Tonga vs All Blacks game in Hamilton, but the day before both teams will put their rivalry to one side in an effort to promote better health and wellbeing for Pacific peoples in South Auckland.

The recent measles outbreak is a major concern with the rate of Pacific peoples increasing daily, but the former Pacific players are also wanting to promote healthier lifestyles for Pacific communities through good nutrition, being active, smokefree and mental wellbeing.

South Seas Healthcare CEO, Lemalu Silao Vaisola-Sefo says around 131 thousand Pacific people live in South Auckland.

“What we know from the data is that we feature highly in most of the negative health statistics. There are a number of reasons for this which include how we access primary healthcare, nutritional practices and physical activity. But there are also a  number of other challenges our communities face outside of the health system which impacts on our health and wellbeing, like poor housing, low income and poor educational outcomes.”

Penina Health Trust CEO, Tupuola Roine Lealaiauloto says having the players come on board to help push messages of better health and wellbeing is important.

“They are part of the community and some of their families have been impacted by poor health problems.  Many of the players have strong ties to South Auckland and it’s great to see them giving back to their communities.”

Pacific Rugby Players CEO Aayden Clarke says he’s extremely proud that they are partnering with South Seas Healthcare and other Pacific providers to utilise our platform in raising awareness about our community’s health issues.

“Our MaiBody MaiFuture initiative is about the players trying to be part of the solution and if we can influence our people positively in some small way then we are winning”.

The Pacific Legends players are made up of former stars from Manu Samoa, Ikale Tahi and the Fijian rugby teams, who are giving their support to the Pacific providers who are working in South Auckland to improve health outcomes.

The Pacific health organisations supporting the initiative are South Seas Healthcare, Pacific Homecare, Penina Health Trust, Vaka Tautua, Bader Drive Healthcare and The Cause Collective.

The event will be held this Friday at the Otara Shopping Centre from 1.00pm-2.30pm and will include free health checks, exercise classes and a chance to mix and mingle with the players.

Pacific Legends Squad

Inoke Afeaki, Tomasi Cama, Graham Dewes, DJ Forbes, Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu, Fanka Halai, Jeff Ierome, Roy Kinikinilau, Nili Latu, Filipo Levi, Lua Lokotui, Laisa Maasi, Deacon Manu, Seilala Mapusua, Onehunga Mata’uiau, Luke Mealamu, Mikaele Pesamino, Junior Poluteuigaga, John Senio, Semo Sititi, Hale T Pole, Justin Va’a, To’o Vaega, Samiu Vahafolau, Lesley Vainikolo, Silao Vaisola-Sefo, Tanner Vili, Gavin Williams, Radike Samo

New Zealand Barbarians Legends Squad

Mana Ashford, Monty Betham, Jason Chandler, Loki Crichton, Dave Dillion, Rhys Duggan, Ross Filipo, Troy Flavell, Corey Flynn, Rico Gear, Craig Glendinning, Jarod Hoeata, Tony Koonwaiyou, Tone Kopelani, Wairangi Koopu, Johnny Leo’o, Slade McFarlane, Cameron McIntyre, Matt Mustchin, Sonny Parker, Matua Parkinson, Sonny Parker, Matua Parkinson, Kevin Senio, Chris Smylie, Carlos Spencer, Sherwin Stowers, Rua Tipoki, Ofisa Tonu’u, Tane Tu’ipolotu, Scott Waldrom, Ruben Wiki