Video: New Zealand officers perform ‘haka’ war dance in honor of slain constable

A 24-year-old man has been charged with the murder of Constable Matthew Hunt, the country’s first line of duty death since 2009

By Suzie Ziegler

AUCKLAND, New Zealand — Officers in New Zealand paid tribute to a fallen colleague Thursday in an emotional funeral that included a haka dance.

Constable Matthew Hunt was fatally shot during a traffic stop last month — New Zealand’s first police line of duty death in 11 years. The 28-year-old was laid to rest Thursday, surrounded by friends, family and fellow officers.

During the funeral, officers performed a haka — or war dance — in his honor, the New Zealand Herald reported. The haka is an ancient practice that comes from New Zealand’s indigenous Māori people. It was traditionally used on the battlefield, as well as when groups came together in peace. Today, haka are performed during ceremonies, celebrations and sporting events to honor guests and show the importance of the occasion.

At Hunt’s funeral, hundreds of Auckland police officers stood together and chanted, stomping and beating their chests.

The event was live-streamed from a sports arena with the permission of Hunt’s family, according to the New Zealand Herald.

After the haka, a somber silence resumed as Hunt’s body was lifted into the back of the hearse and driven through a full honor guard, said the Herald.

A 24-year-old man has been charged with Hunt’s murder; a 30-year-old woman is facing accessory to murder charges.

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