“A year ago, a fine young constable went to work and never came home”.
With these words, Inspector Mark Fergus began a memorial service in honour of Constable Matthew Hunt, who was shot dead while on duty in Massey.
The 28-year-old was brought up on the Hibiscus Coast and spent most of his career at Ōrewa and Helensville Police stations.
According to his friend, Sam Swaffield, Matthew was a true Coastie. His connections with Ōrewa ran deep and included college, the surf club, Muldoons’ quiz nights and working at the supermarket. He often visited Ōrewa Beach if he’d had a hard day to reflect and recharge.
So it was fitting that Whangaparāoa MP Mark Mitchell, Hibiscus and Bays Local Board chair Gary Brown and Auckland Council made it possible for Matthew to be remembered with a plaque and tree on Ōrewa’s Remembrance Reserve.
The unveiling of the plaque on a bench overlooking the beach, and the planting of the coastal kowhai took place on Saturday, June 19 – exactly a year since Matthew died.
Around 200 people attended the hour-long service, including Matthew’s family and friends, a large contingent of his Police comrades, local politicians and the community. It included a fly-over by the Police helicopter, a minute’s silence and speeches.
The day before, Police unveiled a plaque for Matthew at Henderson Police station.
The trial of the man accused of killing Matthew is set down for next month.