Last weekend Sāmoa made history, becoming the first Pacific nation ever to make it to a Rugby League World Cup final. Photographer Geoffery Matautia captured the moment as thousands took to the streets of South Auckland to celebrate.

Sāmoa beat England in the Rugby League World Cup semi-final on Saturday, meaning they get a spot in the final to play against Australia next week.

It’s the first time a country outside of Australia, New Zealand or England has made it to the World Cup final in over 50 years.

Photographer Geoffery Matautia captured the celebrations that began last weekend after the quarter-final between Tonga and Sāmoa, and this weekend’s parade.

“I just wanted to capture joy and celebration,” he says. 

“The community getting together, celebrating together, regardless of if you're from one island or the other. I wanted to capture a collective moment of everyone celebrating the feeling of supporting your country.”

He says the parades began almost instinctively, spreading through word of mouth.

“It is community organised - there is no government or council thing, it’s definitely run by the community. They make their posters and stuff to promote it, it's really organic and at this point you kind of know there will be a parade,” Geoffery says.

“People feel at home when they hear noise and cheering and celebration. When you have a chance to celebrate, people take it and go to 100 - flags flying round and all the sirens - everyone wants to celebrate together, from such small islands and such small populations of people, the achievement that people are wanting to celebrate.”

There were “a bunch of crack-up things” at the parades. His favourite was a drone flying around Māngere town centre that someone had attached a flag to.

“I’m not a league fan, I've never watched a game fully but in the recent two weeks I've just been catching myself watching highlights on TikTok. I'm a fan of the way it brings people together, including me.”

More stories:

Whānau, the 21 year-long doco following the lives of 'ordinary' whānau

Director Parehuia was five years old when the first instalment of ‘Whānau’ was released.

Inside Auckland’s Ōtara Market: Community, taonga and taro

‘More than selling flowers, it’s about engaging with the local people’

Inside the South Auckland fashion show celebrating Pasifika style

"Fashion is being yourself [and] depending on the context, it can be whatever you want it to be."