Saturday in Hamilton is all about Rugby League – Samoa v Tonga, specifically.
A parade at 9am kicks off the day’s events, which will culminate in the game at 7.30pm at FMG Stadium Waikato.
The Pasifika Parade will feature the Samoan and Tongan communities showing their colours in a coordinated march down Tristram Street to the Pasifika Fan Fest at Mill Street Field.
The communities will assemble from 9am. Samoa supporters will gather at Hamilton Girls’ High School and Tonga supporters will gather across the road at Norris Ward Park.
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The Tongan community will lead the walking parade by virtue of being the “home” team based on the official coin toss conducted by Rugby League World Cup officials.
The Fan Fest will run from10am to 2pm at Mill Street Park.
League action kicks off at noon at Fraser Tech Park.
Hakula Tonga Aotearoa Rugby League and NZ Maori Rugby League are hosting three matches at 11:55am (Mate Ma’a Tonga U16 boys v NZ Maori Tama), 1:05pm (Mate Ma’a Tonga U15 girls v NZ Maori Kotiro) and 2:30pm (Mate Ma’a Tonga Residents v Cook Islands).
And the official city welcome for the Tongan team will be at 2pm at Hamilton Gardens. This is open to everyone and will be in the form of a formal whakatu.