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Memories flow for popular local constable

Posted at 12:17pm Monday 29 Jun, 2020

Constable Matthew Hunt

Flowers were left outside Orewa Police station last week in tribute to Constable Matthew Hunt who spent part of his career on frontline duties there.
Flowers were left outside Orewa Police station last week in tribute to Constable Matthew Hunt who spent part of his career on frontline duties there.

Mahurangi Matters and Hibiscus Matters extend our deepest sympathies to the family of Constable Matthew Hunt, aged 28 who was killed on duty during an armed incident in Massey on June 19.

Matthew was well-known to colleagues in Warkworth and worked here on several occasions. A minute's silence was held at the Warkworth Police Station at 10.37am last Friday, attended by emergency service personnel, including ambulance and fire service officers, and members of the public.

Matthew was brought up on the Hibiscus Coast and spent most of his career working at Orewa and Helensville stations.

He attended Orewa College and completed a BA in Criminology before joining Police in 2017.

The College's flag has been at half-mast, a minute's silence was observed at senior assembly and Principal Kate Shevland has been in touch with Matthew's mother, who worked in a support role at the school for several years.

Many staff at Orewa College remember Matthew, who started there in Year 9 from Orewa North Primary and left in 2009.

Outdoor education teacher Joel Dickinson: “In Outdoor Ed, he was an absolute legend. He was part of the first ever Level 3 Outdoor Education programme at Orewa College and planned trips such as snow camp to Mt Ruapehu and surf camp to Tawharanui. He was also in the first ever Survivor Orewa – a hotly contested part of the programme. The Outdoor Education units he helped to plan are still part of the course. He was liked by all his peers, warm natured and gave everything a go. Amazing student!”

Sports teachers Leanne Evans and Aaron Webb: “Matt and his friends were a tight group, and competed in many sports, all in the name of fun. Playing squash for two years, they proved they weren't the greatest squash players, but had fun doing it. Matt also played golf, bowls and softball. In 2009, he was part of our softball team that attended the Secondary Schools Softball Nationals, in Tauranga. In softball speak, “boy, did he have an arm”!  On one play, he threw the ball from the back of centre outfield, straight to the catcher at the home plate to get an outstanding ‘out'.”

Principal Kate Shevland: “Matt will be sadly missed by all. He was looked up to as a kind, caring person who had a good outlook on life and a lot to give. He always looked on the bright side of life and was very close to his friends. Like many Coasties that group of friends has kept together since school, and shared a lot.”


Police supported by community

Waitemata North area commander, Inspector Mark Fergus, based in Orewa, says Matt's colleagues are feeling a deep sense of loss.

“Police staff have been overwhelmed by gestures from our tight-knit community and we have felt the love and support strongly, receiving flowers, baking and visits from schoolchildren. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you so much for helping us during this incredibly difficult time for Matt's family, friends, and colleagues.

“We are completely devastated by the loss of our colleague and friend. We as the New Zealand Police family will get through this by continuing to support one another and of course do whatever we can for Matt's family.

“We are also focused on supporting our injured officer who is recovering at home. The events of June 19 understandably impacted him deeply and we are doing what we can to help him through this time.”

As the paper went to print, almost $47,000 had been raised via a Givealittle page, with donations going to the NZ Police Association fund.  

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