Extra police will be on the streets in south Auckland this weekend as the area gears up for a showdown between England and Tonga in the Rugby League World Cup semi-final.
Huge crowds of elated Tongan league fans have lined the streets of Ōtāhuhu to cheer on Mate Ma'a Tonga as they progress through the tournament.
But police say dozens of people have been arrested in the area for disorderly behaviour and two officers have been violently assaulted in recent weeks.
A female police officer was put in hospital on Saturday night after being attacked from behind by an unknown man in Ōtāhuhu. Police are still looking for the culprit.
Auckland District Police said there would be a "significant" police presence around Ōtāhuhu and other parts of south Auckland on the weekend to ensure public safety, especially given the large crowds.
"We will not tolerate anyone acting dangerously and putting our staff or any member of the public in danger," police said in a statement. "Please act responsibly and show respect for others."
Yesterday Tongan community leaders requested a family fan zone be set up to help control the crowds.
A fan zone had been hastily set up last weekend. The committee said it had helped prevent problems experienced after the Mate Ma'a Tonga v Kiwis game.
The Tongan Community Committee yesterday requested a larger-scale family fan zone for the semi-final but their request was denied by the Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board.
The local board said it was instead encouraging rugby league fans to head to Mt Smart Stadium to watch the game.
"Having spoken with all those involved in Saturday night's event in Ōtāhuhu – while it was a great night – it was pulled together at very short notice with a lot of support from volunteers and community leaders and there isn't the capacity to do that again," local board chair Lemauga Lydia Sosene said.
"If the group wants to put something on, that's up to them and we may consider providing some support if we are satisfied they have all the right things in place to run a safe and successful event, but we will not be hosting it."
Sosene told the Herald the board was concerned a fan zone organised at the last minute and without proper structures in place could turn out to be more of a risk to community safety.
Tongan Advisor Council chairman Melino Maka has asked the board to reconsider.
"We do not want problems to get out of hand," he said. "The cost of controlling some people who may cause trouble after the game will outweigh the costs of holding a proper fan zone for families and everyone."