Public disruption expected without designated Tongan fan zone

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

The Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board of the council declined a Tongan community proposal for a family zone to watch the Rugby League semi-final match between Tonga and England in Auckland this weekend. But the Tongan Advisory Council chairman Melino Maka believes a designated area will alleviate any potential disorderly behaviour.

Tongan Advisory Council chairman Melino Maka says there is potential for public disruption.

“If we are not going to have a family zone then we will have to expect the unexpected tomorrow.”

Auckland Councillor Alf Filipaina says a fan zone won't necessarily solve the problem.

“The people that went to the fan zone, they were the people that wanted to celebrate. The others that want to cause problems they still stayed at the place they were, and you know after it finished that's where the problems started.”

The Māngere-Ōtāhuhu board says they had concerns about the increased traffic in the area a fan zone will generate and the impact on local roads and residents, and that it would pose a significant safety risk given that a large crowd would be anticipated to attend.

“It's that one percent is causing all the problems and our Tongan community are being tainted by that one percent so it's really the police around how they're keeping the community safe.”

Police say given what's happened in the last few weeks there will be zero tolerance for any disorderly behaviour and flagrant disregard for road safety rules.

Maka says, “As part of a Tongan community we need to celebrate but we also need to be mindful of the public safety.”

Tonga plays England at 4:00pm tomorrow at Mt Smart Stadium.