The Auckland Tongan community has banded together and raised the insurance excess for a woman whose car was graffitied in the country's name after last weekend's rugby league match in Hamilton.

Gaewyn Copeland lives nowhere near where the Tonga vs Samoa match was held - she lives in Mt Albert - yet her car still got the word "Tonga" spray painted in red across its side outside her home.

Copeland doesn't even follow rugby league.

Fellow Auckland resident and lawyer Ruby Manukia-Schaumkel, who is from Tonga, contacted the Herald to say she had gathered money from "other responsible Tongans" including fellow lawyer, Amelia Schaaf, who had donated to Copeland as a way of condemning the behaviour.


"We want to put in our positive view that not all Tongans are like that, there are responsible ones. When we read about that poor lady's car, me and some other people decided we would fork out the $400 for the lady as a response back that you have got to be responsible.

Gaewyn Copeland managed to get most of the red ink off her car but it still needs repainting. Photo / Supplied
Gaewyn Copeland managed to get most of the red ink off her car but it still needs repainting. Photo / Supplied

"We are trying to challenge other Tongan people in the community to act responsibly leading up to the game this weekend."

Manukia-Schaumkel said she wasn't shocked by the staunch patriotism shown by the Tongan fans, but was shocked by the level of violence involved.

"I think they have to be mindful that patriotism doesn't mean violence. They can support in a positive way, not a negative way. We want positive patriotism, which means abiding by the law, being compliant and being respectful of other people's property."

She had also spoken to church leaders to spread the positive message about supporting their country's team and hoped her fellow countrymen would end the violent clashes.

"I am challenging the Tongan community and church leaders to be on the look-out for any unusual activities leading up to the league clash on Saturday between Tonga and the Kiwis.

When contacted, Copeland said she was floored by the kind donation and support from the community since the story ran in Tuesday's Herald.

"Oh, that's so kind of them to do that. I have been amazed by the level of support I have received, actually."


Not only had friends and family been in touch but also police, however they were unable to help just yet.

Copeland said she had managed to get most of the bright red spray paint off her car but it would still need to be repainted.

Tonga plays New Zealand in the World Rugby League Cup on Saturday in Hamilton.