Rugby players from St Patrick's College perform haka in tribute to late actor Pua Magasiva

An emotional haka took place on the field of Evans Bay Park in Wellington today in a moving tribute to Pua Magasiva.

Players from the 1st XV rugby team at Magasiva high school, St Patrick's College, donned black armbands to perform the poignant haka before playing against St John's College this afternoon. 

Magasiva used to play in St Patrick's 1st XV team and "is known to many in the rugby community," according to a post on the school's Facebook page.

The 38-year-old died in the early hours of Saturday morning. The death is not being treated as suspicious and has been referred to a coroner.

Player Khya Wilson laid a school rugby jersey on the pitch in tribute to the late actor prior to the match, before leading the emotionally-charged performance for hundreds of spectators.

Captain Ronaldo Saumanufagai told media the team were using the match to honour Pua's legacy.

"To celebrate what he's done for us as a school... I think it's good the first team pay some respect to him."

The post on the St Patrick's College Facebook said the 1st XV coaches, Galu Letiu and Kas Lealamanua, "have a close connection with the Magasiva family".

A private funeral for the Magasiva family and their close friends will be held on Friday afternoon.

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