Former All Blacks great Zinzan Brooke led an emotional haka after the funeral of New Zealand-born police officer Matiu “Matt” Ratana in London.
Ratana, 54, who was originally from Hawke’s Bay, was shot dead in a South London custody centre on September 25, allegedly by a man who had been detained, while working for Metropolitan Police.
Because of Covid-19 restrictions, Ratana’s funeral was livestreamed to family, friends, and colleagues around the world from a chapel in Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex.
After the funeral, London-based Brooke, who played 58 tests for the All Blacks between 1987-97, helped perform a haka with Ngati Rānana, the London Māori Club, as Ratana’s casket was taken from the premises in the hearse.
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“I genuinely had a good tear in my eye to do the haka when the car came up along the side and I saw the silver fern on the coffin,” Brooke said.
Ratana served with Metropolitan Police for almost 30 years, having moved to the UK in 1989. He had also worked in Auckland City and Counties Manukau until 2008, before returning to the UK.
His partner Su Bushby said Ratana would “always be in my heart”.
In a tribute read on behalf of Bushby by friend Lorraine Dray, she said Ratana lived life to the full.
“In any situation or room he walked into, his presence would always be felt. Like a big ball of energy. You were taken far too soon.”