A retired inspector who led the investigation into the fatal shooting of a Hawke's Bay policeman 25 years ago says he still wishes he was able to put the offender behind bars.
Former inspector Ross Pinkham oversaw the investigation after Constable Glenn McKibbin was shot dead in Flaxmere on April 21, 1996.
A remembrance service was held on Wednesday for the slain policeman, who was 25 years old at the time of his death, at Hastings Police Station.
Pinkham said about 40 former colleagues of McKibbin attended the annual ceremony, with speeches or remembrance and the signing of a memorial book.
McKibbin, who had worked for NZ Police in Hastings for four years, was on patrol duty when he stopped a motorist in Margate Ave, Flaxmere.
After speaking with the driver, an armed offender drove up and fired a hunting rifle at the officer, with the bullet going through McKibbin's hard-covered notebook, into his stomach and hitting his spine.
A nine-week manhunt followed before his attacker was tracked down on June 25 in a gully near Havelock North, roasting a sheep he had just killed over a fire.
Killer Terence Kohema Thompson, born David Charles Rangiharuru Ropiha, was shot dead in the ensuing standoff.
Pinkham said he still wishes Thompson could have faced charges.
"My role was to gather evidence against the person who murdered Constable McKibbin, and we wanted to have the opportunity to present the facts before the court.
"The circumstances at the time didn't allow for the offender to be held accountable, but we had to move on and were able to put together the coroner's hearing for both Glenn and the offender."
The former inspector said due to the nature of the crime and the proceeding manhunt, it remains impossible for members of the force to forget the ordeal.
"You will always remember an incident like that and you cannot compare this case with any other cases.
"This was a totally random situation – it could've been any police officer at the time. You have zero control - it could've happened yesterday and it could happen tomorrow. You never know."
New Zealand Police Museum also took to social media to share a tribute to their lost colleague.
"As always our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues who still grieve and miss him," it said.
"To live in the hearts of those who are left, is not to die. Moe mai rā Glenn."
Pinkham said to lose any police officer is a "tragedy" for the force.