A call from the Tongan community was made to Auckland Council, especially ATEED, and organisers of the RLWC 2017 to assist with organising a Family zone to prevent further problems. Last week, a hastily organised family zone was arranged and helped to prevent the problems experienced after the Mate Ma’a Tonga versus Kiwi’s game. This is only the start because the BIG GAME is this weekend and we need to be prepared and provide events to cater for fans in a controlled environment that is safe.
Today, the Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board declined the Tongan community proposal for another family zone in anticipation of the semi-final. Instead, the Local Board directed everyone to go to Mount Smart Stadium to the game. So, what happens after the game? Is the Local Board going to sit on their hands and wait until someone gets hurt before reacting?
The Local Board has missed the point here! We need a fan zone to direct fans there to celebrate in a safe environment and to prevent any further arrests and bad behaviour by some of the fans. It is mind-boggling that the Local Board is not listening to our community or considering the safety aspect of the community and instead passing the buck! This is not the way to do this. Internationally, similar events have a lot of fan activities in designated areas even right up to the game and afterwards to cater for the fans. REMEMBER the recent Rugby World Cup in England and the marvellous treatment of fans in the fan zones. This provided a safe environment for families and fans to enjoy and celebrate the game.
We ask the Local Board and Auckland City Council to reconsider the recent decision and consider the safety of fans and the community. We do not want problems to get out of hand and the cost of controlling some people who may cause trouble after the game will outweigh the costs of holding a proper fan zone for families and everyone.
Tongan Advisory Council (Auckland),
Mob: 0275 635 466.