Family pay tribute to slain constable Matthew Hunt during funeral in Auckland

Family and friends have paid tribute to slain constable Matthew Hunt during his funeral in Auckland.

The 28-year-old, who was fatally shot during a routine traffic stop in June, was farewelled at Eden Park on Thursday. 

During the service Hunt was described as an empathic, multifaceted young man who was living a "full and rich life". 

He relished his role in the police, love testing himself and the discipline of sport.

Hunt's mother Diane said no parent wants to lose a child. She described Hunt as a sports lover who always dreamed of being a police officer. 

"From a very young age Matthew expressed his desire to join the police, it never wavered. He found his forever family with the police, it was a perfect fit for him."

"Matthew, those who love you saw behind your veil of humility and we saw the calibre of the man you were destined to become."

"I love you Matthew now and forever, everyday in every way you made me so proud to be your mum."

She said her son had everything "to live for". Hunt's sister, Ellie, said her brother would be "deeply missed" by many.

Uncle Robert Winterbottom described his nephew as a funny, cheeky quirky kid who never sought the spotlight.

"He conducted himself in a quiet and unassuming way. He never seemed to overreact to a situation and was a quiet voice of reason, clearly a quality he put to good use in his career in the police force."

Winterbottom said the country has lost an enormous "asset", which is clear from the touching tributes since his death.

"Matt's death has reached many. He was too young to go. He will never get to do the things most of us do."

"He will never get married, he will never have kids, he will never grow up but one thing he now has in immortality. His name will live on, he won't be forgotten… he will always be remembered." 

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster also paid tribute, saying Hunt's death touched everyone in New Zealand.

"We have seen an outpouring of condolences from the public, from community leaders, from parliament, and from overseas police."

"That Matt was loved and respected by colleagues is very evident. There is no higher calling than to serve, protect and care for others.

"Like his colleagues, Matt was an ordinary person doing extraordinary things. Constable Matthew Hunt, thank you for your service," Coster said. 

Hunt's former sergeant Dean Taylor said Hunt was a hardworking, motivated and kind man. 

"Humble, caring and proud. He made an impression on all who met him and he was so proud of wearing the [police] uniform," Taylor said. 

Three friends also paid tribute to Hunt describing him as a "brother" and an "amazing man".

The funeral was attended by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Police Minister Stuart Nash, Rodney MP Mark Mitchell and more than 1000 police staff members. 

After the service, Commissioner Coster presented Hunt's family with the NZ Police flag. This was followed by a police haka and a guard of honour. 

Hunt was fatally shot while undertaking a routine traffic stop in Massey, west Auckland in June. 

A 24-year-old man has been charged with murder, attempted murder and dangerous driving causing injury. He denied all charges in the High Court in Auckland. 

A 30-year-old woman, who was charged with being an accessory after the fact to murder, also denied all charges in court. 

Their trial is due to go ahead in July 2021.