An Auckland mum hit by a bottle at Mt Smart stadium says a group of unruly fans in a corporate box started the fight with patrons in the stands that marred the Saturday night league international.
A second witness corroborated this account, saying the crowd endured a hail of bottles and plastic cups before three men from the stands clambered into the box in a bid to stop the onslaught.
Mt Smart Stadium is copping flak from patrons, some of whom were injured.
They are questioning why glass is allowed in corporate boxes when it is banned in the stands.
Stadium management say they are now reviewing the use of glass.
Meanwhile, patrons in a neighbouring corporate box rented by Vodafone are receiving praise for ushering fans to safety amid the hail of bottles and cups.
The saga began during a speech by the victorious Kiwis captain Jesse Bromwich.
One witness, who asked to remain anonymous, said a member of a group of young people in a corporate box, described as a mix of Kiwis and Mate Ma'a Tonga fans all in high spirits, threw a flag into the bay below their corporate box.
Someone in that box then shook up a can of beer and sprayed it over the crowd, before flinging the empty can into the stands.
At this point, the crowd in the rows below asked the revellers in the box to cut it out.
They did not.
The witness said the fans in the box started throwing plastic wine glasses at people on the stairs who were trying to leave their seats, followed by a hail of glass bottles and porcelain crockery.
At least three people in the crowd were injured.
"Wasn't long before they started throwing chairs and any objects they could find," the witness said.
In response, three men from the stands started retaliating, eventually jumping into the corporate box and flinging chairs back, she said.
The witness said members of a nearby corporate box, rented by Vodafone, helped pull her family and others to safety to avoid the glass and porcelain breaking at their feet.
She was grateful for their help as they had no other way out, she said.
Another woman in the stands said she saw a bottle hurtle towards her young daughter.
She covered her daughter with her body and was struck in the head, as was a woman sitting in front of her, who received a black eye.
"We are both fortunate it didn't smash on impact.
"There were many bottles and cans, full and empty, being thrown at us down below."
Like the first witness, the woman said the three men only clambered into the corporate box in response to the actions of the fans who were pelting the people in the stands with bottles and other objects.
She has questioned why glass bottles were being sold anywhere in the stadium.
Auckland Stadiums director James Parkinson said staff were working with police and the occupier of the corporate suite to assist the police in their ongoing investigation.
The identity of the person who rented the offending corporate box has yet to be made public.
Parkinson said it is venue policy that all drinks are decanted in plastic cups of corporate box patrons taking their beverages out onto the deck.
"However, we have always allowed glasses and glass bottles in our indoor corporate areas.
"This will be reviewed with recommended changes implemented ahead of our next event."
A police spokeswoman said inquiries continue into the incident. No one has been arrested.
One person transported to hospital with moderate injuries has been discharged, she said.
"Police would like to thank members of the public who have already provided us with information.
"We continue to welcome anyone with information that may assist our investigation to contact Police on 105 and quote file number 220626/8559.
"You can also contact Crime Stoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or www.crimestoppers-nz.org."
St John treated three people injured as part of the disorder.
The Kiwis recorded a victory over a spirited Tongan opposition in front of the 27,000 strong crowd.
Kiwis 26 (Jahrome Hughes, Jordan Rapana, Ronaldo Mulitalo, Isaiah Papali'i tries; Rapana 4 cons, pen)
Tonga 6 (Sione Katoa try; Kotoni Staggs conversion)