Saturday, 28 Nov 2020

Former All Black Zinzan Brooke helps lead emotional haka to farewell slain Kiwi cop in London

Former All Black Zinzan Brooke helped lead a haka after the funeral for former Kiwi cop Sergeant Matt Ratana, who was gunned down by a suspect while under arrest in South London.

Ratana was today farewelled by a small number of family, friends and colleagues at a memorial in Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex.

Brooke joined members of Ngāti Rānana – London Māori Club – in performing the haka as Ratana’s casket was taken from the premises in the hearse.

The 54-year-old Metropolitan Police officer was shot several times in the Croydon Custody Centre in the early hours of September 25 as he prepared to search a handcuffed suspect.

That suspect, Louis De Zoysa, 23, was in a critical condition after shooting himself during the incident.

He remains in hospital and “unfit for an interview” by police.

At the funeral service, which was livestreamed, 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 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.”

She also remembered her partner’s “big, infectious smile”.

Ratana’s son Luke said his father was loved by many. He thanked everyone for their tributes.

“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.”

Met Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick also spoke at the ceremony and said Ratana was a “brilliant sergeant, a leader, a supremely loyal colleague and friend and a true team player”.

“He mentored and coached generations of officers, young and old, and junior and senior.”

She also spoke how Ratana used to jokingly insist on being called the “Sherriff of South Norwood” while on the job and had once distracted an angry crowd by launching into a haka.

Dame Cressida Dick ended her speech by saying, “we’ll take it from here Sarg”.

The father of one was only two months off retirement, and previously helped guard Princess Diana, the Queen Mother and a former Prime Minister.

Ratana also has historic ties.

He is a grandson of Iriaka Ratana, the first Māori woman MP, and great-great grandson of Ratana Church founder Tahupōtiki Wiremu Ratana.

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