Opinion: Donuts and the kindness of strangers - Tongan fans show they're a crowd like no other

By 1 NEWS NOW producer Daniel Fraser

General view of Mt Smart.
Tonga v Australia. International Rugby League test match. Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand. Saturday 20 October 2018 © Andrew Cornaga /
Mt Smart Stadium was a sea of red. Source: Photosport

I don't need to tell you about the 26,214-strong crowd at Saturday night’s Test between Mate Ma’a Tonga and the Kangaroos.

You'll have seen the pictures, the singing, chanting and tooting. The red sea of fun - a one of a kind show of Pacific pride.

There is a story from the eastern grandstand of Mt Smart I would like to tell you though.

I went to the game with family, we're not Tongan but we were decked out in red and ready to enjoy what is comfortably, to me anyway, the best sporting atmosphere in this country.

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    The Mate Ma'a Tonga winger spoke after his side's 34-16 loss. Source: 1 NEWS

    If the incredible pre-match wasn’t enough, with fans singing both anthems, much to the surprise of the Australian team, and then former Kangaroo Andrew Fifita leading the Sipi Tau - we were offered pizza by the complete strangers sitting next to me.

    An amazing act made even more incredible when you think of stadium prices.

    Through the first half, it quickly become clear the star of our little section was an older Tongan woman, sparkling in red sequined dress.

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      Mate Ma’a Tonga lost to the Kangaroos, but that didn’t stop fans from taking to the streets to celebrate afterwards. Source: 1 NEWS

      She stood, flag in hand, dancing and cheering continuously. Celebrating the occasion, regardless of the result.

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        Mate Ma'a Tonga fans are packing into a sold out Mt Smart for tonight's Test against Australia. Source: 1 NEWS

        Only at halftime did she sit down, but only to pull out a picnic basket full of homemade Tongan pancakes, keke 'isite, which she handed out to all in our section. Even making people take seconds when there were some left over.

        Where else in the world would you get that at a sporting event? Nowhere that I’ve experienced.

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          The Pacific powerhouse are in town ahead of next week's clash with the Kangaroos. Source: 1 NEWS

          These random acts of kindness show that not only is there amazing passion and patriotism amongst Mate Ma’a Tonga fans, but there’s also a selflessness and a generosity to so many fans who are credit to the tiny Pacific kingdom.

          So ofa atu Tonga fans, keep doing your country proud and inspiring so many with your passion, your generosity and your spirit.