The streets of south Auckland were last night filled with tooting horns, cheering and a sea of red and white flags after Tonga's historic 28-22 win over the Kiwis in yesterday afternoon's rugby league world cup game.

But police say it descended into "significant disorder" and 53 people were arrested.

They asked people to stay away from Otahuhu Town Centre as they converged on the area at about 9pm.

"What started out as a celebration turned into mass disorder involving traffic gridlock, drunkenness and violence," said Senior Sergeant Clive Wood.


"As family groups, revellers and other sports fans moved away and headed home a hard core of people occupied the streets, let off fireworks near a petrol station, threw missiles at police, obstructed roads and foot paths and behaved in a very disorderly manner."

Wood said at one stage an ambulance was prevented from getting to a medical emergency.

"These people, who appeared to have no care for anyone's welfare, didn't think about the consequences of their actions and I do hope they take time out to reflect on how badly they behaved".

He said in total 53 arrests were made for disorder offending and over 50 police staff were redeployed from other duties to control the situation.

"This offending will not be tolerated and people will face the consequences for this type of behaviour," he said.

Videos posted on Facebook show fans out en mass in Otahuhu.

Tongan madness in South Auckland! Didn't realise there are so many Tongans in NZ #GoTonga #WorldCup

Posted by Brendon Satram on Saturday, 11 November 2017

One video, posted to the Veitchy on Sport Facebook page shows parades of jubilant Tongan fans overtaking the streets, some of them standing on cars as they wave Tongan flags.

After a nail-bitingly close game in Hamilton, in which Tonga trailed 16-2 at halftime, the visitors stunned New Zealand with four tries in 17 minutes sending the 25,800 and predominantly red-clad sell-out Waikato Stadium crowd into raptures.


Police said in a statement at 8.37pm that they were pleased with the behaviour of the patrons at the game.

Waikato District Commander Superintendent Bruce Bird said the large crowd created plenty of excitement and celebrated the event in the way it deserved.

"Many of them have travelled down from Auckland and it's been absolutely fantastic, an absolute pleasure to have them here."

Waikato's tournament operation commander, Inspector Karen Henrikson, said there was an "awesome atmosphere" with few incidents of concern to police.

"It's just been amazing. The whole stadium was rocking back and forth with the exuberance of the crowd."

The only incidents of note were two fans who attempted to invade the pitch and were caught by security before they could get past the goal line.

They could expect to face charges.

In total at the game there were half a dozen arrests, and more than 30 people were evicted from Waikato Stadium.

Games involving Pacific nations have been marred by brawls and disorder in South Auckland during the tournament.

A statement at 9.11pm said police were asking the public to avoid the Otahuhu town centre following disorder incidents.

A number of arrests had been made.

"There will be a continued visible police presence in the area as the situation is managed."