Croydon sergeant shot dead given special haka tribute by Kiwi colleagues

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Croydon sergeant shot dead given special haka tribute by Kiwi colleagues

Police have paid a heavy tribute to former colleague Sergeant Matiu Ratana, who was shot dead in a police station in London.

The 53-year-old police officer was one of the heroes who died on duty in a moving haka in his home country New Zealand on Monday.

The Kiwi officer known as “Matt” Ratana was shot dead as he prepared to search a suspect at a police station in Croydon in the early hours of Friday morning.

The alleged killer of Mr Ratana, who is widely reported to be Louis De Zoysa, 23, remains in hospital after being hit by a bullet in the incident.

After a memorial service in New Zealand, officials moved outside to perform the annual haka for officials who throughout history died on duty.

This year two new names were tragically added to the roll call – Sgt Ratana and Constable Matthew Hunt.

Constable Hunt was allegedly murdered during a routine traffic obstruction in Auckland earlier this year, making him the first officer to be killed in New Zealand in eleven years.

Sgt Ratana was the first officer to be killed in the UK since 2012.

The haka was performed on Monday during the annual NZ Police Remembrance Day at Porirua Police College north of the state capital Wellington.

The UK Police Memorial Trust tweeted footage of the haka, writing: “Sgt Matt Ratana made Britain his home and served the communities of London for most of his career. He has always been a New Zealander and also served the people in his country of birth in the New Zealand Police Department. “

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Croydon Police wrote: “Thank you so much for your support. We were privileged to have him here in the UK.

“With his love for the All Blacks and rugby as a whole, and so many other wonderful things, we would never forget his legacy and kiwi roots.”

The Haka is a ceremonial dance or challenge of the Māori that is traditionally performed in a group.

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Sgt Ratana was a proud Māori officer who had historical ties with New Zealand, where his great-great-grandfather founded the influential Ratana Church, and his grandmother was the first Māori MP Iriaka Ratana.

He came to the UK from New Zealand in his early twenties and joined the Met Police two years later.

Prior to joining the Met in 1991, Sgt Ratana was previously the Protection Commissioner of Princess Diana, the Queen Mother and ex-Prime Minister John Major.

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And the officer who lived in Worthing, West Sussex, was just 300 yards from an IRA bomb that was fired off Downing Street in 1992.

It was only a few months before his retirement when he was killed in the ward’s detention suite after 30 years at the Met.

Earlier this week, Sgt Ratana’s partner Su Bushby paid tribute to him.

She said, “There are really no words for how I feel about losing Matt right now, about losing someone I loved and who I was so tragically close to.

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“I know Matt touched the lives of many, many people with his kindness.
Patience, friendliness, enthusiasm and caring ways.

“I have 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, confidante, supporter, and soul mate.

“He is very much missed, but never forgotten. Matt will always be on my head and in my heart. “

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Sgt Ratana has also been recalled as a popular rugby coach and top police officer.

The East Grinstead Rugby Club, where he was head coach, described him as an “irreplaceable figure”.

De Zoysa, 23, from Norbury was previously known to counterterrorism officials.

However, questions have been raised about the incident after De Zoysa was reportedly handcuffed and hands behind her back during the incident.

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The police watchdog is investigating how the suspect allegedly hid a revolver in his pants after his arrest.

He had been on foot when a police car stopped him at around 1:30 a.m.

According to the Independent Police Conduct Office, the suspect was taken to the police station and taken to a detention area in the detention suite.

He is believed to have opened fire while he was still handcuffed as officers prepared to use a metal detector to search him.

No police weapons were fired in the incident.

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