2 Dec 2015

Favona school offers viral Jonah Lomu tribute song for free

9:05 am on 2 December 2015

A tribute song for Jonah Lomu, written and performed by pupils from his old school, will be available as a free download as a "gift" to everyone who cared about the rugby great.

Videos of the performance by Favona Primary School students at the All Black great's public memorial service on Monday have been watched thousands of times.

The performance was a highlight of the memorial service at Auckland's Eden Park.

Favona Primary's principal Lois Kirkbride said the school was overwhelmed by the public response to the song.

Ms Kirkbride said there had been little time to discuss what to do next with the song, but the school wanted it to be a free gift for all.

"We just thought, free download and if people wanted to, they could make a donation to Jonah's charities," said Ms Kirkbride

"And that way, make it also a tribute to him and the work he's done, so it could continue."

The song was originally put together as a tribute to Lomu and his family, on behalf of the school and some of its past students, before the school knew it would be taking part in the memorial service.

Music producer and former Favona pupil Matthew Salapu said it was written by the kids last Wednesday, then recorded and filmed over the following few days and published on YouTube on Sunday.

Mr Salapu said being able to perform it at the memorial service was the icing on the cake.

"All their dance moves - the whole performance of it was actually just for the video," said Mr Salapu.

"The song they wrote really balanced the emotional, sad tribute as well as the new direction of hope and being positive and carrying on Jonah's legacy with energy."

Mr Salapu said the students did not realise how much of an impact the song would have.

"We were inundated with countless people both regulars, strangers stopping by to tell the students how amazing the song was.

"Representatives of huge organisations and John Hart and various All Blacks - they were all like, 'that song's a hit. That song's like the next Poi E'."

Auckland Cafe Owner Jerome Isidiro said he enjoyed the lyrics of the song.

"It's nice that they celebrate life," said Mr Isidiro. "It's lively, it's upbeat, it's good. That's what people need."

Aucklander, Kier Ibanez, 23, was also a fan.

"I really did like the song, I loved the message," said Mr Ibanez. "And you can hear the pride while they're singing the song."

Mr Salapu said Lomu left a gift to Favona Primary school, having put it on the map, and the school was very proud of its role in his life.

In return, they wanted the song to be a free gift to others.

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