The New Zealand-born police officer who was slain in the UK earlier this year has been honoured posthumously as BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards as 2020’s Unsung Hero.
Sergeant Matt Ratana, originally from Hawke’s Bay, was killed in September after he was shot dead in a South London custody centre while working for the Metropolitan Police.
This morning, he was honoured after being nominated by East Grinstead Rugby Club, where he was coaching before his death.
Ratana’s partner, Su Bushy, received the award on his behalf.
“I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who took time to vote for Matt,” she said. “He would have felt humbled by this.
“Matt was a very special man, definitely one of a kind, he touched so many people's lives. Through his policing, gym, friends and passion for the great game of rugby, he lit up every room and every pitch with his presence, enthusiasm and smile.
“I am honoured to be here standing here to accept this award tonight. Matt is, and always will be, my hero.”
East Grinstead Rugby Club added they have created the Matt Ratana Rugby Foundation to “honour his memory and try and achieve some of his legacy”.
The foundation will support disadvantaged rugby players in the UK and in New Zealand to give them a better chance on and off the field.