A seat has been dedicated to slain police officer Constable Matthew Hunt at Eden Park - honouring his service to the community and his love of sports.
Seat 28 in section 319, row T, will now always remind those seated there of a young officer whose life was taken on the front line as he worked to protect the community.
"He loved coming here, he loved watching the Blues or the All Blacks, attending games with his friends," his mother Diane Hunt said.
"He'd been here the week before he died and he had tickets to come back on the weekend after."
Hunt was allegedly murdered during a routine traffic stop on Reynella Drive in Massey on June 19.
He and his partner were shot multiple times by a man with a long-barrelled firearm.
Hunt died at the scene and his partner was badly wounded, but survived.
Eli Epiha, 24, is charged with murdering Hunt, attempting to murder the other police officer and wounding a member of the public as he allegedly fled the scene in a car driven by Natalie Bracken.
Bracken, 30, is charged with being an accessory to murder after the fact for allegedly driving the getaway car for Epiha.
Both have pleaded not guilty to the charges and will go on trial in the High Court at Auckland next year.
Hunt's funeral was held at Eden Park on July 9 - delayed due to Covid-19 restrictions that saw his sister and uncle spend 14 days in managed isolation after returning to Auckland from overseas.
At the funeral it was announced that Eden Park would permanently dedicate a seat to Hunt.
It was the last seat he sat in at Eden Park, a week before he died, at a Blues rugby game.
Mourners were told the seat had been painted "just the right shade of blue" and would forever honour the fallen officer.
A ceremony was held at Eden Park to formally dedicate the seat on September 11.
The Herald has been provided photographs and video from the ceremony - which Diane Hunt and her daughter Eleanor attended - by police.
"Matthew actually sat in this seat," Diane Hunt said.
"Eden Park have been amazing ... it was the venue most appropriate for Matthew.
"Ellie and I would really like to thank them for everything they did to make Matthew's funeral what it was.
"And now there's this and it's very bittersweet."
A silver plaque fixed to the ground in front of the seat explains who Hunt was and the tribute.
"On 19 June 2020 Constable Matthew Hunt (Matt) tragically had his life taken whilst working in the line of duty.
"The 28-year-old was an avid sports lover and frequently attended matches at Eden Park.
"This seat is to honour his service and the role New Zealand Police plays in keeping Aotearoa communities safe."
The seat is number 28 - the age Hunt was when he was killed.
Hunt is just the third person to be honoured at Eden Park with a memorial seat.
He is the only person to be remembered posthumously.
"This tribute marks the third Seat of Honour introduced to the more than 48,000 seats at New Zealand's national stadium," said Eden Park CEO Nick Sautner.
"Eden Park holds special memories for many Kiwis and sports fans across the world and Matt was one of them.
"We are pleased the stadium could give back to the New Zealand Police and Constable Hunt's family by playing a small part in honouring his contribution through his farewell and this Seat of Honour."
The first seat was dedicated to cricket lover Mitchell Grimstone, who took a one-handed catch off Ross Taylor's six to win the Tui Catch-A-Million prize of $50,000 in February 2018.
The second is "the resting place" of Black Cap Grant Elliott's "mighty six" that propelled the national team into their maiden Cricket World Cup final in 2015.
Mum's petition to keep cop killers locked up for life
After Hunt's violent death his mother Diane launched a petition calling for the Government to refuse parole for all offenders jailed for killing police officers.
Diane Hunt said the current laws "do not adequately condemn" the slaying of police on duty and she is pleading for "urgent" change.
The petition was launched on July 30 - the day Hunt would have turned 29.
More than 38,500 people have signed the petition, which will remain open until November 10.
Currently, a person convicted of murder becomes eligible for parole after 10 years - or after their court-imposed minimum non-parole period ends.
But Diane Hunt is calling for those who kill officers to stay locked up for life.
She is asking that the House of Representatives "urgently amend" the Sentencing Act 2002 and Parole Act 2002 to "automatically decline parole eligibility for offenders convicted of the murder of police officers".
She called for the change in memory of her "beloved son".
"My son lost his life while serving his country," she said.
"If you truly believe what was said by numerous politicians after Matthew's death that police lives matter, passing this legislation should be done without delay.
"I believe our sentencing laws for murder do not adequately condemn the actions that result in the murder of police officers."