Police: Samoa League fans should have fun but behave safely


Toa Samoa supporters in Auckland ahead of the Rugby League World Cup match between Toa Samoa Australia Kangaroos.
Photo: RNZ / Nick Monro

Police say they will have an extra presence in Tāmaki Makaurau this weekend ahead of Sunday morning’s Rugby League World Cup final between Samoa and Australia.

Police are appealing to Toa Samoa fans in New Zealand to remain peaceful and act sensibly and safely.

Manukau counties district commander Jill Rogers said police had faced disorder in recent weeks after Tongan and Samoan supporters celebrated in the streets of South Auckland, particularly in Manukau West counties, including Māngere and Ōtāhuhu.

She said last week a person was injured after he slipped off the hood of a moving car they were sitting on and was then run over.

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The person was now recovering and in a stable condition, but police did not want to see a repeat of the incident, she said.

“We are aware of planned celebrations, including a parade in Clendon Shopping Center on Friday, a parade in Auckland CBD on Saturday, and that a dedicated fan zone has been organized in Māngere ahead of the much-anticipated final. These will all take place as controlled accordingly she said in a statement.

An alcohol ban in the fan zone, as well as other central areas, will be strictly enforced, she said.

“People who behave inappropriately and harm themselves and others by riding on vehicles or setting off fireworks in busy areas will not be tolerated. It is important that excited fans do not block the streets to stop traffic,” she said .

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Rogers said blocking streets not only caused a nuisance to the public, but could also block access for emergency services.

Motorists can expect delays and longer travel times as they travel through areas where celebrations take place, she said.

More police will also be on the streets in Hawke’s Bay this weekend.

Area Commander Lincoln Sycamore said police would be visibly present, including at the fan event scheduled for the Sound Shell on Saturday.

Samoan supporters are urged to enjoy the occasion but to drive and behave safely, he said.

Police received several calls last weekend following Samoa’s victory over the English about a convoy of up to 30 vehicles traveling from Hastings to Napier, he said.

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“Callers were concerned about the behavior of drivers and passengers and the risk the low speeds posed to other drivers,” Sycamore said in a statement.

It was important for people to wear seatbelts and drive safely, he said.

Meanwhile, Wellington Hutt Valley area commander Inspector Dion Bennett said police had received calls over the past week about unsafe driving “such as people leaning out of car windows and onto the backs of cars”.

Police would be present in areas where fans are likely to gather and will respond to any disorder or unsafe driving, he said.