Matiu Ratana funeral: Mourners remember officer killed in line of duty

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A memorial service has been held in London for a New Zealander who was slain while on duty with the metropolitan police.

The coffin of New Zealand-born Metropolitan Police officer Sergeant Matt Ratana is surrounded by floral tributes ahead of his funeral service in Shoreham-by-Sea, south England.

The coffin of New Zealand-born Metropolitan Police officer Sergeant Matt Ratana is surrounded by floral tributes ahead of his funeral service in Shoreham-by-Sea, south England. Photo: Gareth Fuller / Pool / AFP

Sergeant Matiu Ratana, who was known as Matt, was killed at Croydon Custody Centre on 25 September as he prepared to search a suspect.

Moving tributes were paid to Ratana by his family, friends and former colleagues at the service in Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex.

Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick described Ratana as a “leader”.

The memorial for the 54 year old was held at a chapel and attended in person by a limited number of his family, friends and close colleagues due to coronavirus restrictions.

It was live-streamed so well-wishers around the world, including Ratana’s relatives in New Zealand, could follow the service.

‘A big ball of energy’

Along with flowers, a mere was sent as a sign of respect from New Zealand police, where he worked from 2003 to 2008.

The coffin was placed in front of a photograph of the officer wearing his East Grinstead rugby shirt, with a fern tree to one side.

At the other side was a table with a photo tribute from his son Luke, which read: “Dad, Till we meet again, Aroha nui Luke,” along with the officer’s police medals.

A tribute from his partner Su Bushby was read at the service by friend Lorraine Dray.

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She said: “Matt made the most of every minute of his precious 54 years. 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, your gym, rugby and policing family will help your legacy, your kindness and your spirit live on.

“You have touched so many people’s lives, you will be truly missed. My life has been richer and funnier for knowing you and I feel blessed you were in my life.”

A tribute was also read out on behalf of relatives in New Zealand – including his brother James, his sister Jessica and his stepmother Dianne – by Met Police colleague Detective Constable Neil Perkin.

They said: “The nature of Matt’s death has been a harrowing experience for his family and friends here in New Zealand and around the world.

“We are comforted by the knowledge that he is with people who love him as much as we do, and that his remains will return home, to his final resting place with his ancestors.”

His son Luke, also a police officer, said he had been touched by the tributes paid to his father.

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In a eulogy read on his behalf, he said: “My dad Matthew was certainly larger than life and a man loved by so many people.

“It is deeply touching to see the tributes that have been paid to him and the outpouring of love and support from friends, family, work colleagues, the rugby community and the people of the United Kingdom and beyond.

“It makes me very proud to see the impact that he has had and how he touched the lives of so many.”

Floral tributes in the chapel included a wreath from Home Secretary Priti Patel and an All Blacks rugby shirt with “Matt” in white lettering, along with wreaths from the East Grinstead rugby club and South Coast Gym.

The funeral was followed by a private cremation service.

– BBC

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