New Zealand police officers perform haka to honour Sergeant Matt Ratana

29 September 2020, 16:45

By Maddie Goodfellow

Sergeant Matt Ratana has been honoured by police colleagues in his home country of New Zealand in an emotional haka tribute.

New Zealand police performed the haka at a ceremony for fallen officers.

The haka is a ceremonial dance in Māori culture which is typically performed to display a group’s pride, strength and unity.

Sgt Ratana was honoured in speeches during the ceremony at the Royal New Zealand Police College in Porirua on Tuesday, which marked the country’s national Police Remembrance day.

54-year-old Sgt Ratana was shot by a suspect being held at Croydon Custody Centre in the early hours of Friday morning.

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said at the ceremony :"Sgt Matt Ratana is described by former colleagues as larger than life, we remember him today."

Read more: Sgt Matt Ratana's devastated colleagues buy him final McDonald's breakfast

Read more: Partner of Sergeant Matt Ratana pays tribute to 'gentle giant'

New Zealand police paid tribute to Sergeant Matt Ratana
New Zealand police paid tribute to Sergeant Matt Ratana. Picture: Twitter / PA

Mr Coster said: "This haka ensures the manner of our slain officers never diminishes. Every new constable at the beginning of their career in police takes part in the haka to the wall.

"The haka says let our hearts beat as one, let our thoughts be united, let our cause be collective. In my view this very eloquently express why we’re gathered here today.

"We also take this opportunity to remember London Metropolitan Police Sergeant Matui Ratana who was shot on duty just days ago.

"Matui was also a part of the New Zealand police family having served with us from 2003 to 2008. Described by former colleagues as a larger than life character, we remember him today."

The performance was praised on social media, with West Midlands Police Chief Superintendent Chris Todd tweeting: "What an impressive tribute. No need to say anymore…the clip says it all. #RIPMattRatana."

The Metropolitan Police Federation account added: "Colleagues in New Zealand have performed a Haka to remember their fallen colleagues at their Police Remembrance Day service.

"This year they included Sgt Matt Ratana, of the Metropolitan Police, amongst those they remembered. Thank you."

Croydon MPS tweeted: "Thank you for your support. We were privileged to have him here in the UK.

"Through his love of the all black and rugby as a whole in addition to so many other wonderful things, we would never forget his heritage and his kiwi roots."

Responding to the video on Twitter, one user wrote: "Wonderful. What a lovely tribute to a fallen hero."

"What an amazing tribute to a fallen comrade from colleagues so far away," said another.

Some users said it made them emotional, with one writing: "Watching this has just made me cry... a beautiful tribute to someone who was obviously a great human being."

"This is such a fantastic things to do. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up and I welled up. Thank you for this!" commented another.

It comes after the partner of police officer Matt Ratana paid tribute to her "gentle giant" and said he will "never be forgotten".

On Monday, his partner of six years Su Bushby has paid tribute him, calling the sergeant her "soulmate".

“There aren’t really any words for how I am feeling right now about the loss of Matt; about losing someone I loved and was so close to in such a tragic manner," she said.

“I know Matt touched many, many people’s lives with his friendliness, patience, kindness, enthusiasm and caring ways.

“I had the pleasure of sharing five years of my life with this lovely man - my gentle giant, with his infectious smile and big heart. I think of him with tenderness and love.

“Matt was my partner, friend, confidant, support and soul mate.

“He will be greatly missed but never forgotten. Matt will always be in my head and in my heart."

Also on Monday, Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle invited members to pay their respects in a minute's silence in the House of Commons on Monday.

He said: “I am sure all honourable members will wish to join me in paying their respects to Police Sergeant Matt Ratana, who was killed in the course of duty on Friday, and sending our condolences to his family.

“Yesterday was National Police Memorial Day, and I ask all honourable members to stand and observe a minute’s silence to mark that occasion and to remember Matt Ratana.”

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said he was an "extraordinary person" who was "very good at his job".

She said his "terrible" death might bring home to people the challenges of police work, helping them to "see us police as who we are - human beings, going to work to help people, to support people and to protect people".

She added: "Matt was the epitome of that."

Friends and teammates gathered in silence in East Grinstead to pay their respects as the club flag was flown alongside the New Zealand flag and an All Blacks rugby team flag to honour Sgt Ratana's love of the sport and his roots.

Police have previously said they are working with a "determination to find justice for our colleague and his family".

A man is currently being held and questioned on suspicion of supplying a firearm at a south London police station in connection with Sgt Ratana's death.

The suspect for the shooting has not yet been spoken to by investigators due to his condition.