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Call for calm

Saturday, November 04, 2017

Rugby league fans supporting the Tongan and Samoan national teams are being urged to remain calm as tensions rise in the lead-up to this weekend's game.Police have confirmed they have received calls regarding "celebrations" in parts of Auckland, particularly in Otahuhu, where vehicles decked out in national flags have been lining the streets and beeping horns continuously.

Groups of supporters have also turned out in force on a daily basis.

After Mate Ma'a Tonga's thrilling win against Scotland on Sunday, legions of fans and supporters turned out to the streets of Otahuhu to celebrate.

However, video footage has emerged on social media showing groups of young Tongan and Samoan supporters arguing and fighting on the streets.

The footage comes after a photo was posted and widely circulated on Facebook showing a young man burning a Samoan flag.

Members of both communities have been quick to call for calm — particularly among young people — saying the actions of one person should not ruin the relationship between Pacific nations and friends. Danny "Brotha D" Leaosavai'i, of record label Dawn Raid Entertainment, told his followers:"Don't let the action of a minion corrupt the harmony of millions. Alofa still means ofa (love)."

Former heavyweight boxer David Tua also spoke on Auckland-based Radio Samoa 1593 this morning, urging young people to disregard hateful comments being said on social media and promote peace between the two groups."

"We are all family," he said.

Meanwhile, the father of the young man involved in the burning flag incident has made a public apology.

"My family are of Samoan/ Tongan descent ... please find it in your hearts to forgive my son for his stupidity."

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