Ugly street brawls detracting from league game - Samoan and Tongan community leaders

Community leaders are disappointed after six people were arrested in a huge brawl at an Otara carpark on Thursday evening.

An estimated 150-200 people gathered at the MIT carpark at 10pm, carrying poles, sticks and even a machete, as tensions between Samoan and Tongan league fans boiled over.

Police closed the surrounding roads, and six people were arrested for disorderly behaviour and possession of offensive weapons.

Extra police have been put on the streets of south Auckland after a week of disorder and violence, following Tonga's Rugby League World Cup win on Sunday.

Tensions rose after a photo was posted to Facebook showing a young man burning a Samoan flag. This was followed by mobs of rugby league fans fighting in the street in Otahuhu earlier in the week.

On Wednesday, video emerged of an ugly street punch-up in south Auckland, showing a gang of yelling and screaming Samoan supporters surrounding a vehicle, while someone is attacked. The sound of breaking glass can be heard, while others attempt to defuse the situation.

There have now been 10 arrests in total, ahead of the Toa Samoa vs Mate Ma'a Tonga game in Hamilton on Saturday.

Tongan Advisory Board Chair Malino Mako and Manukau Ward Councillor Efeso Collins, from Samoa, appeared on The AM Show on Friday with a message: "We're better than that."

"I just think this is excitement gone overboard and it's encouraging our young people especially to learn how to channel this," Mr Collins said.

"This is young people trying to manage their impulses and when you get so excited it boils over."

Mr Mako said rivalry is not necessarily a bad thing, but it needs to be "in the spirit of the game".

"We need to let the rivalry be on the field.

"At the moment there are a few people who are tainting that respect. We don't need that.

He said the brawls mainly involve young people, "but it's also middle-aged".