When Ross Taylor cleans out his garage, there tend to be two winners.

The first is his family, who have more space to move around their home.

The second are Samoan cricketers, who receive the spoils of stockpiled gear.

Last month Taylor visited Samoa, the birthplace of his mother Ann, to celebrate the country's 20th anniversary as a cricketing nation.


The 33-year-old had last visited 30 years ago.

Taylor took six bags of kit on the plane, including one-and-a-half from his friend and international teammate Martin Guptill, for distribution among the cricket community.

Taylor's largesse means it is not uncommon for Samoan players to wander onto fields in trousers which either cut off at the low calf or require a couple of folds to avoid slipping over their shoes.

"I had been meaning to clear out the garage for a while," he said. "I had to call in a favour from my New Zealand travel agent to get an excess baggage waiver."

The 81-test veteran made the trip with Murphy Su'a, the first Samoan to play cricket for New Zealand. Su'a went on to play for Samoa, and coached the national side for eight years.

"We've been trying to get him back there but it's tough when he's travelling much of the year," Su'a said of Taylor.

"He captained the New Zealand side and is one of our best batters. That means a lot to the Samoan community. There's lots of rugby players who come through, but not a lot of cricketers."

Taylor was often referred to by his first name Luteru, visited his Mum's home village Saoluafata, and even caught up with a couple of aunties during the flying visit.

"Samoans are proud of him and wanted to celebrate that [at the 20th anniversary dinner]," Su'a said.

"His mum's village did a fantastic dance on the night and Ross had a question-and-answer session with me. They raised in the vicinity of $20,000-$30,000.

"We'd also go out for coffee and a lot of guys around the ages of 12-24 were speaking in Samoan and you'd hear them whisper 'Ross Taylor'. Some came up and had a photo or got autographs."

Taylor and Su'a put on some coaching clinics during their stay. The talent on display was impressive.

"I was intending to give away a couple of shirts to the best catchers," Taylor said.

"I was belting the balls but the fielders were so good I had to ask them to catch one-handed. I still had to give away about five shirts.

"We went driving through a few villages and a couple had kids playing in matches with those old yellow Milo [schools tournament] wickets. There was also proper cricket being played in the village [rather than the Samoan derivative of kilikiti]. If you saw that in India or Sri Lanka you wouldn't look twice, but that was awesome in Samoa. It was good to see them playing sports outside rugby and league."

Such a scenario has been helped by an infrastructure developed in partnership with the International Cricket Council, and a mentoring relationship with Auckland Cricket.

The 'English' version of the game has also been promoted by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi's government. In the 2013 book, An Ocean Of Cricket, Malielegaoi told authors Adam and Barrie Cassidy that "apart from rugby and long-boat rowing there was no other opportunity for Samoans to play representative sport internationally".

Cricket is seen as a way for Samoans to travel, earn a decent income and support their families.

"We grew up playing kilikiti through our churches and families," Su'a said.

"But Samoa's come a long way in 20 years. The challenge is to play every year [internationally] because at the moment they play every two to three which is tough to build momentum."

Taylor's next assignment sees him head off with the New Zealand team this week to play the one-day international series against India.