Key Points:

The police officer killed when he was hit by a stolen car in Porirua near Wellington today is the 27th officer to die in the line of duty.

A case of mistaken identity on July 30, 1890, is believed to have led to the first killing of a New Zealand policeman on duty.

Gumdigger Henry Funcke had been removed from a passenger steamer after his rifle was taken from him.

In a fit of rage when he was put ashore, he pulled out a hidden pistol and fired at the departing steamer.

One of his bullets hit Dargaville police constable Neil McLeod, 44, in the chest and he died instantly.

Other deaths of police on duty were:

* April 14, 1910: Sergeant John Patrick Hackett McGuire, 42, died from gunshot wounds three days after he was shot in the stomach during a manhunt for escaped prisoner John Joseph Pawelka.

* February 5, 1913: Constable John Doyle, 35, died in hospital four days after being assaulted during a scuffle with two men in the Albany Hotel, Shannon.

* October 6, 1919: Constable Vivian Dudding, 32, was shot in the head when he attended a domestic dispute in Thorndon, Wellington. He died in hospital an hour later.

* August 27, 1921: Constable James Dorgan, 37, was shot by an unidentified gunman when he investigated a break-in at Timaru. The killer was never found.

* October 21, 1934: Constable Thomas Heeps, 50, died in Waikato Hospital after he was shot twice near Otorohanga by Henare Hona who was being hunted after shooting dead four people.

* October 8, 1941: Sergeant William Cooper, 43, Constable Frederick William Jordan, 26, Constable Percy Campbell Tulloch, 35, and Constable Edward Mark Best, 42, all became victims of Stanley Graham, the West Coast farmer who shot several people after refusing to hand over his firearms. By the end of the largest manhunt in New Zealand history, seven people, including Graham, had died. Another of his victims died 17 months later from gunshot wounds.

* January 31, 1949: Traffic Officer John Kehoe, 24, was shot several times by Richard Angus McGill in Whakatane. He died soon after.

* May 27, 1951: Sergeant William Shore Hughes, 48, was shot dead during a domestic dispute at Otaki by Noema Raana Rika.

* January 6, 1963: Detective Sergeant Neville Wilson Power, 25, and Detective Inspector Wallace Chalmers, 46, were both shot by Victor George Wasmuth when they attended a shooting in west Auckland. Wasmuth also shot dead a neighbour and wounded another man.

* February 3, 1963: Constable James Thomas Richardson, 24, and Constable Bryan Leslie Schultz, 21, died instantly when they were shot as they sat in their police car after answering a call to a domestic dispute in Lower Hutt.

* August 15, 1966: Constable Donald Richard Stokes, 23, died in Dunedin Hospital after being beaten by escaping prisoners in the Dunedin police station cells.

* February 4, 1970: Sergeant Gilbert Peter Arcus, 44, died in Tauranga Hospital from head injuries after falling off a chair as he tried to placate a mentally disturbed woman through the window of a locked room.

* September 25, 1976: Constable Peter William Murphy, 21, was shot when he attended a break-in at an Invercargill sports shop.

* June 13, 1977: Traffic Officer Barry Yorston Gibson, 32, was assaulted by a motorist and died of head injuries in Taranaki Base Hospital.

* April 7, 1986: Traffic Officer Robin James Dudding, 44, was shot dead after he was taken hostage by Ross Kameta. Traffic Officer Dudding was later awarded a posthumous George Medal for bravery.

* May 27, 1990: Senior Constable Peter Morris Umbers, 35, was bashed with his own baton when he stopped Richard Thomas Lakich near Ranfurly, Central Otago. Mr Umbers was awarded the posthumous George Medal for bravery.

* November 13, 1990: Sergeant Stewart Graeme Guthrie, 41, died at Aramoana when he was shot by gunman David Malcolm Gray who shot dead 12 other people. Mr Guthrie was awarded the posthumous George Medal.

* April 21, 1996: Constable Glenn Arthur McKibbin, 25, was shot as he stood beside his police patrol car in the Hastings suburb of Flaxmere. He died on the way to hospital. Former soldier Terence Thompson was later found in a Havelock North orchard and shot dead by police.

* May 27, 1999 - Mangakino constable Lester Murray Stretch, 38, was bashed to death in the small Waikato town by Carlos Namana.

* July 5, 2002 - Feilding Detective Constable Duncan Taylor fatally shot by a teenager during a confrontation at a Rongotea farmhouse.

A further 13 police officers have died on duty in a non-criminal act, the first in 1845 when a Sergeant Garvey died an a blizzard at Ranfurly, Central Otago on his way to inspect mine diggings near Naseby.

The latest accidental death was in 2004 when Senior Constable Phillip Anthony Wipatene's patrol car collided with another car on the Oakura Bridge on State Highway 45, 14km southwest of New Plymouth.

Other deaths include:

* September, 1851: an unknown constable drowned in Lyttelton harbour when the Lady Nugent capsized. The same launch capsized two months later, drowning two more people.

* May 28, 1865: Constable John Duncan drowned while travelling in a punt to investigate a burglary on the West Coast near Kaniere.

* 1916: Constable A J Dillon drowned on the West Coast trying to save a woman from drowning.

* October, 1933: Constable James Shields died when his car was hit by the Rotorua Express at a rail crossing near Huntly.

* August, 1935: Constable Charles Williams, drowned in the Waikato River trying to save a woman who had fallen from the Hamilton Railway Bridge.

* August, 1939: Constable W J Watt died in a road accident near Waimate as he drove to Redcliff to investigate a shooting.

* February, 1976: Alan Liddell drowned in the Grey River as he carried out tests for a murder trial.

* July, 1986: Senior Sergeant Phil Ward and Constable Glen Hughes drowned when the police launch Lady Elizabeth capsized in Wellington Harbour.

* December, 1990: Detective Tony Harrod died after falling from a helicopter sling during cannabis recovery in Waitotara Valley, in Taranaki.

* November, 1993: Sergeant Lou Grant, a founding member of the police helicopter squad and Constable Alastair Simpson both died, when the police helicopter Eagle and a traffic spotter plane collided over Auckland's motorway system.