Pacific leaders set up Rugby League World Cup fan zones

Tongan fans
Tongam fans celebrate during the Rugby League World Cup. Photo credit: Newshub

Pacific community leaders have set up dedicated zones for Tongan rugby league fans to celebrate future World Cup success.

Tonga have proved the surprise packet of the international tournament, currently being hosted in New Zealand and Australia. 

Last weekend, they upset world No. 2 and former champions New Zealand in Hamilton, and will now face Lebanon in a Christchurch quarterfinal on Saturday. 

But the success hasn't come without off-field controversy, as some over-exuberant supporters took their celebrations to the streets.

Police warned the public to avoid Otahuhu after the Kiwis game and six people were arrested, when a crowd of 150-200 gathered at the Otara Mall, some of them wielding poles, sticks and even a machete.

Police were also kept busy the previous week, when Tongan and Samoan fans clashed in the streets, as their teams prepared for an encounter, won 32-18 by Tonga.

Samoa will also contest the World Cup quarterfinals - they take on champions Australia in Darwin on Friday.

Pacific leaders are adamant family zones will help calm in their communities, as the excitement builds towards the business end of the tournament.

"Everyone's keen, because we're wanting to keep the revelry controlled," Manukau ward councillor Fa'anana Efeso Collins told NZME.

"The last thing we need out south is things turning to custard."

Mr Collins says the family zone will be a safe and passionate place for celebration, food, and Tongan song and dance.