Pacific community leaders in Auckland have slammed rugby league fans' violent behaviour, calling it shocking.

Up to 53 people were arrested in Otahuhu, South Auckland, last night following huge celebrations among the Tongan community after Mate Ma'a Tonga's historic 28-22 win over the Kiwis in Hamilton yesterday.

Police were called to several disorder incidents around 9pm. Fireworks were let off near a petrol station, missiles were thrown at police, roads were obstructed and there were reports of drunkenness and violent behaviour.

Before that, police reported family groups and sports fans were well behaved and the celebrations were cheerful, before "hard-core'' groups of people arrived.


Auckland councillors Alf Filipaina and Fa'anana Efeso Collins today continued calls for calm and peaceful celebrations.

Filipaina, a former police officer, said he was disgusted by the actions of those who had chosen to turn the celebrations into something else.

He told Radio NZ: "The violence ... it is just shocking. It is disgusting.

"These people don't care about the rugby league. They just want to end up trying to look for fights.''

Collins said there needed to be a set fanzone set up by organisers of the Rugby League World Cup so people could celebrate there instead of on the streets.

He also told the station that the behaviour was worrying, especially when there were still more games to be played.

Last night's arrests follow several arrests and disorder incidents among Samoan and Tongan fans just over a week ago in the lead-up to the Toa Samoa and Mate Ma'a Tonga match.