12 Nov 2017

'Missiles' thrown at police, 53 arrests in Ōtāhuhu

8:21 am on 12 November 2017

There was "mass disorder" in Ōtāhuhu town centre last night with dozens of arrests, drunkenness and violence, police say, as rugby league fans celebrated Tonga's win over the Kiwis.

Counties Manukau supervisor Senior Sergeant Clive Wood said what started out as a celebration turned into mass disorder, and there was violence, drunkenness and traffic gridlock.

There has been dozens of arrests for brawling and disorderly behaviour in South Auckland during the Rugby League World Cup over the past weeks as people took to the streets before and after games.

Mr Wood said after family groups, revellers and sports fans headed home a hard core of people occupied the streets, let off fireworks near a petrol station and threw them at police, obstructed roads and foot paths and behaved in a very disorderly manner.

At one stage an ambulance was prevented from getting to a medical emergency.

"These people, who appeared to have no care for anyone's welfare, didn't think about the consequences of their actions and I do hope they take time out to reflect on how badly they behaved."

A total 53 arrests were made for disorder offending and over 50 police staff were redeployed from other duties to control the situation.

This offending would not be tolerated and people would face consequences, he said.

Last night police asked the public to avoid the Ōtāhuhu town centre following incidents of disorder.

Police happy with crowd at NZ-Tonga match

Police said they were pleased with the behaviour of patrons at the Rugby League World Cup thriller between New Zealand and Tonga at Hamilton's Waikato Stadium yesterday.

In a major upset, Tonga beat the Kiwis, the first time a tier-two team has beaten a tier-one nation.

Tonga fans at Waikato Stadium.

Tonga fans at Waikato Stadium. Photo: RNZ / Laura Tupou

Waikato District Commander Superintendent Bruce Bird said the large crowd created plenty of excitement and celebrated the event in the way it deserved.

"Many of them have travelled down from Auckland and it's been absolutely fantastic, an absolute pleasure to have them here."

Police said there were six arrests, two for pitch invasion, two for disorder, one for detoxification and one for trespassing.

Thirty three people were evicted for a range of issues, such as disorder and bringing in contraband.

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