On Friday 25 September, Matt Ratana, Head Coach of East Grinstead RFC was tragically killed whilst on duty in his role as Custody Sergeant.

Matt Ratana was born in the Hawke's Bay Region of New Zealand and was of Māori descent. He moved to England in 1989, working for the Metropolitan Police for nearly 30 years. Matt also served with New Zealand Police, joining the British High Commission Wing in 2003 and serving in the Auckland City and Counties Manukau police districts before returning to the UK in 2008.

Aside from his work in the police, Matt worked tirelessly as rugby coach for all ages and mentor to young people. He spoke often to his various teams of the importance of ‘ Whānau’, which in Maori means, your community, your family. He was an inspirational leader, friend and teacher.

He was wholly inclusive and ran teams from the very young through the men’s and women’s senior teams, as well as encouraging all ages to engage with the sport.

He inspired so many, and The Matt Ratana Rugby Foundation will work to build a legacy that he would have been proud of.

Robert James