Wherever in the world he is, A.J. Martin Petersen, is always a proud Samoan.
So when the Australia-based rugby league player with roots in Tafatafa, Falealili, was planning a trip to Samoa, he thought of the perfect way to give back to the Samoan community.
Yesterday, Petersen and his partner, Kirsty and family donated bag loads of rugby boots and other equipment to the Rugby Academy Samoa in Lotopa.
Petersen is Captain/Coach of the Picton Magpies in Australia.
As a half Samoa and Maori, it’s his first time to Samoa and he wanted to expose his two daughters to his heritage.
While planning the trip, Petersen said he came up with idea to bring boots for kids in Samoa and reached out to teammates as wells as players from rival teams to donate.
“There were a couple other teams, from teams we played against."
“When I told the boys over in Australia what I was doing, everyone came together and brought as many boots as they can, jumpers and training gear."
“I just wanted to give back to the people. I see these kids who don’t have boots and I wanted to give them the opportunity."
“Hopefully they’ll be playing for Manu Samoa or Toa Samoa because I’m from rugby league."
Manager at the Rugby Academy Samoa, Leituala Joe Chan Ting, accepted the donation and thanked Petersen and his team for their generous help.
He highlighted the need for equipment, especially boots, because most of the players in the programme don’t have proper footwear.
Petersen said he intends to continue to send gear to R.A.S.