Highhonour for humble reverend
Alofa atu nei. Alofa mai taeao.
Kindness given. Kindness gained. It was the theme of Samoan Language Week, which just finished, and set a fitting tone for Porirua’s Reverend Perema Leasi who earned a Queen’s Service Medal for services to the Pacific Community as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours list announced on June 4.
Leasi is the solo minister at Christ the King Pacific Islands Presbyterian Church in Cannons Creek.
He has been involved in the Porirua community since 2001, after being a minister for St Andrews Presbyterian Church in Te Awamutu where he worked to rehabilitate prisoners and help former prisoners reintegrate into the community.
Leasi continued this line of work after coming to Porirua, and in 2015 was recognised as one of Porirua’s 50 most influential people at the city’s fiftieth anniversary celebrations.
Deputy Mayor Izzy Ford described Leasi as ‘‘a strong advocate for social justice’’.
‘‘[He] has an ongoing commitment to our youth and their aspirations from all walks of life.
‘‘He is one of the many heroes of our community that contribute to the unique fabric of our city.’’
Leasi has organised community events including combined church services, youth sports days, and the annual celebration of Samoa Independence Day.
He is the chairmain of the Porirua Samoan Combined Churches and serves as secretary for the Samoa Ministers’ Fellowship of the Wellington Region. He is also patron of the Lavalava Samoan Language Class 101.
Mana MP Kris Faafoi described Leasi as a mild- mannered, humble man who speaks ‘‘with real mana’’.
‘‘From my perspective the work he does beyond his congregation has been outstanding.
‘‘He’s multi-lingual and can connect with different Pacific causes around the city.
‘‘I’ve enjoyed his wise counsel on where issues are in Porirua East.’’
In March, the Government announced that 53 new state homes would be built on Housing NZ land that has stood empty for nearly a decade.
‘‘He was outspoken about the Castor Loop land,’’ Faafoi said. ‘‘He always wants to make sure there’s affordable housing in the community.’’
Leasi has been chairman of the Wellington Pacific Bible College since 2002, and is a committee member of the Wellington Pacific Health Services.
Reverend Perema Leasi long argued for homes on Housing NZ land that stood empty for nearly a decade. (File photo)