Vava’u fans breach airport regulations during rugby league stars visit

Mate Ma’a Tonga supporters and their families in Vava’u pushed open a gate at the Lupepau’u International Airport before swarming onto the runway to carry rugby league stars from an aircraft on Friday.

They ignored warnings from Police who were there to make sure everyone was safe.

Police appeared happy before moving aside to watch.

Some Mate Ma’a Tonga players including Konrad Hurrell and Peni Terepo flew from Tongatapu to Vava’u after they were welcomed to the kingdom on Tuesday with a national celebration which featured public floats, royal ceremony and a block party.

Women in Vava’u surrounded the aircraft’s stairway and carried the MMT stars.

Terepo and Hurrell appeared elated while they were carried by the fans.

The celebration came after Terepo was given a piggyback in ‘Eua last week before he was led on a road in Nafanua while his jubilant supporters shouted and yelled in exultation.

Vava’u ways

The breach of the airport rules was regarded by Tongans as the normal Vava’u ways and Police are used to it.

Some people said only Police who were new to the islands would not tolerate the people’s behaviour.

They described the behaviour as entertaining and said it showed how extreme their happiness was when they celebrated.

As Kaniva News reported earlier this year, a happy crowd at Halaevalu wharf in Vava’u pushed a locked gate open before some of them swarmed in when a security guard tried unsuccessfully to stop them and lock the gate again.

These incidents had been met with positive comments from the Tongan public with many people praising the Vava’u way of doing things.

Vava’u celebrations last week included public floats and feasts in Neiafu.