A Kiwi has shared a heartwarming piece of art in tribute of slain officer, Constable Matthew Dennis Hunt, which she plans to put on the cover of a book.
Graphic artist and mother-of-two Jackie Thompson created a bear as part of her cardboard painting collection she started during lockdown in New Plymouth.
The idea for the collection came to her after Kiwi woman created the page 'We're Not Scared' - NZ Bear Hunt in a bid to get children to look out for bears in their community while they are getting exercise with their parent or guardian.
Wanting to be involved with the initiative, Thompson started a painting one cardboard bear a day as she had given her teddies away to the Hospice.
Thompson shared the collection that featured in her garden on a different Facebook group "We Are Going On A Bear Hunt - NZ".
In the group, she posted a photo of the bear she made in honour of Hunt, who was shot dead during a routine traffic stop in Massey.
"This was one of the most difficult and emotional teddy bears that I have ever created," she wrote.
"I cried practically the whole time. I want to honour the memory of Constable Matthew Dennis Hunt, who was slain, while on duty as a New Zealand police officer, age 28. My heart goes out to his family and friends. Taken too soon while doing a job he absolutely loved. Rest in peace."
Thomas' artwork caught the eye of Elise Hansen from Ruakaka who wanted to make a book of her collection.
Speaking to the Herald about Hunt, Hansen said: "Jackie is like me, she takes everything to heart.
"When Constable Matthew Hunt was shot down I just sat there like a stunned mullet. He was a fine young man who has lot his life for doing his duty. It's just horrendous."
Hansen said the pair plan to put Hunt on the cover of a second book that will be made later in the year which will be a farm theme, as Thompson recently moved to a farmhouse near Inglewood.
"It doesn't fit with the farm theme but we would still like to do this tribute," Hansen said.
Speaking about the first book which is currently being printed, Hansen said it all came together after she contacted Thompson on Facebook.
The two have never met but Hansen managed to get in contact with Thompson on Facebook and make a plan.
Hansen was able to fund the book, named The Year Teddy Bears Came out to Play, due to inheritance money and managed to get hold of a publishing company in Auckland, BookPrint, and work with Amy Brown who was in awe when she saw the photos.
Some of the bears that are set to feature in the book is a bear that one of her fans, Margaret, asked for to honour her son Andy who tragically died in a car accident at the age of 19.
She also made a bear for Captain Thomas Moore, the British World War II veteran who won hearts across the world with his brave fundraising campaign for the UK's National Health Service.
He was promoted by the Queen to an Honorary Colonel when he celebrated his 100th birthday on April 30.
Hansen said she was pleased how the community come together to back the venture.
Jacqueline McKay aka The Office Chick has volunteered her time to help Hansen set up the Facebook page, Paypal and Gmail account so that people could order the books.
She added that Brown has also helped to do extra things with the book at no extra cost and the photographer who has taken photos for the books worked for free.
"People who have seen it have asked 'what can we do to help'," she said.
Hansen said they have had 110 orders for the first book from Sweden, Switzerland, Australia and around New Zealand.
She said it was not a money-making scheme and she tried to keep the costs of the books down — selling them for $20 each.
Feel free to contact Hansen on the "The Year Teddy Bears Came out to Play" Facebook page to find out more.