More than a thousand fans joined a 'who's who' of All Blacks and Samoan rugby to farewell Papaliitele Peter Fatialofa at a memorial service in south Auckland last night.
The former Manu Samoa captain, better known as Fats, died in Samoa a week ago aged 54.
His friend and former All Black, Bryan Williams, says in their early days at the Ponsonby Rugby Club, Peter Fatialofa was a wild man who enjoyed starting fights in pubs.
But he says he matured to become a stalwart of the great Auckland side of the 1980s, then captained Manu Samoa to 1991 rugby world cup quarterfinals.
"Fats put Samoan rugby on the map as we well know, he played a big part in putting the team together, raising money in wheelbarrows, and who will never forget that great win over Wales, it was the greatest party of all time."
Papaliitele Peter Fatialofa's funeral is now underway.