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Police: Samoa league fans should have fun but behave safely

Toa Samoa supporters in Auckland before the Rugby League World Cup match between Toa Samoa Australia Kangaroos.

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

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

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

Counties Manukau District Commander Jill Rogers said police had been dealing with disorder over the last few weeks following Tongan and Samoan supporters taking their celebrations to the streets of South Auckland, particularly in Counties Manukau West, including Māngere and Ōtāhuhu.

She said a person was injured last week after slipping from the bonnet of a moving car they were sitting on and then being run over.

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

“We are aware of planned celebrations, including a parade in Clendon Shopping Centre on Friday, a parade in the Auckland CBD on Saturday, and that a dedicated fan zone has been organised in Māngere ahead of the much-anticipated final. These will all be monitored accordingly,” she said in a statement.

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

“People acting inappropriately and putting themselves and others at harm by riding on vehicles or setting off fireworks in crowded areas will not be tolerated. It is important excited fans do not block streets stopping traffic,” she said.

Rogers said blocking streets not only caused disruption for the public but could also block emergency vehicle’s access.

Motorists could expect delays and longer travel times if they were travelling through areas where celebrations were taking place, she said.

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

Area Commander Lincoln Sycamore said police would have a visible presence including at the fans event planned for the Sound Shell on Saturday.

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

Police got several calls last weekend after Samoa’s win over the English about a convoy of up to 30 vehicles travelling from Hastings to Napier, he said.

“Callers were concerned with driver and passenger behaviour, and the risk the slow speeds were posing to other drivers,” Sycamore said in a statement.

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

Meanwhile, in Wellington Hutt Valley Area Commander Inspector Dion Bennett said over the last week police had received calls reporting unsafe driving behaviour “such as people leaning out car windows and off the back of utes”.

Police would have a presence in areas where fans were likely to gather and will respond to any disorder or unsafe driving, he said.

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