1 Nov 2017

Tonga and Samoa league fans urged to keep peace

5:22 pm on 1 November 2017

The Mate Ma'a Tonga Rugby League team is urging fans to keep the peace ahead of their clash with the Toa Samoa team on Saturday.

Tongan league fans show their support.

Tongan league fans show their support. Photo: NRL Photos

There has been tension after a photo of a Tongan supporter burning a Samoan flag was circulated online and videos posted to Facebook yesterday show scuffles breaking out in Ōtāhuhu between supporters holding Samoan and Tongan flags.

In a video posted to Tongan player Konrad Hurrell's Facebook page, his Mate Ma'a captain Sika Manu stands with the rest of his team and delivers this message:

"What's up guys, this is the Mate Ma'a Tonga team. Just a message to all our the tokos and usos out there, please keep the peace. We're all from the islands, please keep the peace."

The Ōtāhuhu Crime Prevention page also asked Mate Ma'a supporters to respect the town and property after it said the town flag was ripped down and replaced with a Tongan flag.

Police, in a statement, said there were more supporters around the Ōtāhuhu town centre this week.

Counties Manukau West Area Commander Inspector Naila Hassan said it was important that supporters out in public behaved responsibly and with consideration for others.

"We want everyone to have fun and enjoy themselves, but most importantly we want everyone to be safe.

"We urge supporters to be respectful of the community, local businesses and residents at all times when out in public," said Inspector Hassan.

He said the main concern was people acting recklessly when travelling in vehicles.

"We've had a few reports of people leaning out of cars or sitting on car bonnets.

"This risky behaviour is not only illegal but very dangerous."

Police responded to an incident last night in which four people were arrested following a disorder incident involving Tongan supporters.

"Overall supporters have been well behaved, however the actions of a small number of people have been disappointing.

"We want everyone to enjoy the tournament and have fun, but please remember to behave responsibly and show respect for others."

Two New Zealand government ministers have also appealed for calm, following the brawl in Auckland.