Hundreds of New Zealand Police officers have performed a powerful haka as a tribute to their colleague who was killed by a rogue a gunman.
Constable Matthew Hunt, 28, was honoured in a private funeral service at Auckland’s Eden Park Stadium on Thursday after he was gunned down while attending a routine traffic stop.
Mr Hunt was shot in the west Auckland suburb of Massey last month. He was the first New Zealand police officer to be killed in the line of duty in 11 years.
Pictured: Hundreds of New Zealand Police officers performed the haka to honour fallen colleague Constable Matthew Hunt
The haka was performed after Mr Hunt, 28, was shot and killed while attending a routine traffic stop in Auckland on June 19
Mr Hunt’s funeral was held on Thursday at Auckland’s Eden Park and he was honoured by an NZ Police motorcade (pictured)
Hundreds of officers took to the turf at Eden Park stadium after Mr Hunt’s funeral service to perform the tribute
Mr Hunt’s funeral was held at Eden Park Stadium, the home of his favourite rugby team, the Auckland Blues
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern also attended the funeral service, while flags on government buildings, including parliament, flew at half-mast in Mr Hunt’s honour.
Officers arrived in droves at Eden Park while dressed in full uniform to farewell their fallen colleague.
The officers marched solemnly inside the venue while others stopped to embrace and offer each other comfort.
A police motorcade surrounded the hearse carrying Mr Hunt as it arrived at the famous ground and his coffin, adorned with lilies, was draped in a police flag and carried in by his close friends.
Police Minister Stuart Nash also arrived at the funeral to pay his respects to the 28-year-old constable. He stopped to speak with Police Commissioner Andrew Coster and the two conversed outside the funeral.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff also attended the service.
New Zealand Police officer Constable Matthew Hunt (pictured) was killed by a gunman in Auckland last month
Mr Hunt’s coffin was decorated with white lilies and a police flag and carried by some of his closest friends
Police Minister Stuart Nash (pictured middle) embraced an officer as he made his way to Mr Hunt’s funeral
The funeral heard speeches from Mr Hunt’s supervisor Sergeant Dean Taylor, his sister and uncle Robert Winterbottom
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff (pictured right) held open a door for two officers as they entered the service
The funeral was held at the home ground of Mr Hunt’s favourite rugby team, the Auckland Blues, who also dedicated the last seat he watched a game from in his honour.
Mr Hunt’s mother, Diane Hunt, also gave an emotional speech praising her only son.
‘No mother would want to be in the position I find myself today. Every day, in every way, you made me so so proud to be your mum,’ she said, according to The New Zealand Herald.
Mr Hunt was raised on the Hibiscus Coast with his sister Eleanor and attended Orewa College.
A New Zealand Police Eagle helicopter flew over Eden Park stadium during Mr Hunt’s funeral service
Mr Hunt’s mother Diane Hunt told the funeral service ‘No mother would want to be in the position I find myself today’
Police Commissioner Andrew Coster also arrived to pay his respects to Mr Hunt and spoke with the Police Minister
Ms Hunt said it was her son’s ‘life-long dream to be a police officer.’
‘From a very young age Matthew expressed his desire to join the police, it never wavered and he found his forever family with the police – it was a perfect fit for him,’ she explained.
Mr Hunt was also described as an ’empathetic and multi-faceted’ man who was ‘content, living a full and rich life’.
His family planned a private funeral but decided to livestream the service after receiving an outpouring of support from the public.
Officers paid tribute to Mr Hunt in a full guard of honour featuring a piper, police cars, a flag bearer and police dogs
Police Commissioner Andy Coster (right) said ‘Matt was loved and respected by colleagues’ after living the police values
Police Commissioner Andy Coster led the tributes for the 28-year-old constable.
He said ‘Matt was loved and respected by colleagues’ after living the police values.
‘He loved his job serving his community and Matt’s death has touched all New Zealanders,’ Mr Coster said, his voice crackling.
The Commissioner said Mr Hunt made the ‘ultimate sacrifice’ and commended Mr Hunt’s colleague who was also shot on the day.
He said all 14,000 members of the police would continue to honour Mr Hunt’s life.
Police officers were seen smiling and embracing outside of the Eden Park stadium before Mr Hunt’s funeral service
The private funeral service was livestreamed to the New Zealand Police Facebook page after an outpouring of public support
‘We will never forget him,’ Mr Coster said.
Speeches were also given by Mr Hunt’s sister, his uncle Robert Winterbottom and his supervisor at the Orewa Police Station Sergeant Dean Taylor.
Sergeant Dean outlined Mr Hunt’s police career and described him as a stand-out member of the junior team.
Mr Hunt graduated from Police College in March 2018 and moved from Orewa to work for the Waitemata Road Policing Team just weeks before his death.
Mr Hunt’s coffin was carried out to the main field of Eden Park after the service concluded.
Police Commissioner Andrew Coster gave an emotional tribute and said ‘Matt’s death has touched all New Zealanders’
A 24-year-old has pleaded not guilty to murder, attempted murder and dangerous driving in relation to Mr Hunt’s shooting
The coffin was placed on a plinth as his colleagues performed the flag ceremony and an Eagle Police helicopter circled above.
Hundreds of Mr Hunt’s fellow officers then performed a powerful haka in his honour.
Mr Hunt was then lifted into the back of the hearse and driven through a full guard of honour led by a piper, a police car with flashing lights, flag bearers and fully uniformed police dogs.
The man accused of shooting Mr Hunt has been granted name suppression. The 24-year-old pleaded not guilty to murder, attempted murder and dangerous driving after the June 19 shooting.
Mr Hunt was killed and another officer was shot in the leg after they tried to pull over a vehicle for routine traffic in the Massey area.
A member of the public arrived early to leave a flower tribute before Mr Hunt’s funeral service at Eden Park
Mr Hunt first started working with New Zealand Police as a member of Wing 312 on 30 October 2017
Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said the two officers initially lost sight of the vehicle but later found it had crashed.
When they approached the scene, a man with a ‘long-barrelled firearm’ began shooting at the unarmed officers.
The shooter and a female accomplice then allegedly fled the area in another vehicle and struck an innocent bystander.
The 30-year-old woman, accused of being an accessory to the murder, has also denied the charges.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Mr Hunt was well loved and his death had affected many New Zealanders.
Mr Hunt’s shooter and a female accomplice allegedly fled the scene in another vehicle after the attack
A police motorcade with motorbikes and police cars led the hearse away after Mr Hunt’s funeral at Eden Park
‘Matt’s death has moved people the length of this country,’ she said.
‘To lose a police officer is to lose someone working for all of us, but also a family member, someone’s loved one and a friend.
‘Matt did indeed have a star quality – a star that was taken too soon,’ she said.
Mr Hunt first started working with New Zealand Police as a member of Wing 312 on 30 October 2017.
Mr Hunt was the 33rd police officer to be killed in New Zealand in the line of duty since 1890.
Mr Hunt was raised on the Hibiscus Coast by his mother Diane and with his sister Eleanor and attended Orewa College