Students from Pua Magasiva's high school perform moving haka in tribute to the 'Shortland Street' actor

A moving haka echoed around the field of Evans Bay Park in Wellington yesterday, as rugby players from Pua Magasiva's former school, St Patrick's College, paid tribute to the actor.

As a mark of respect for the 38-year-old - who played in the 1st XV rugby team during his school years - the players wore black armbands as they took on St Johns College on Wednesday afternoon.

Player Khya Wilson lay a St Patricks rugby jersey on the pitch before the match. He then led a team haka as hundreds of pupils and spectators watched on.

The team's 1st XV captain Ronaldo Saumanufagai said they were using the game to remember and honour Pua.

"Just to celebrate what he's done for us as a school ... I think it's good the first team pay some respect to him."

In a Facebook post, St Patricks College said Magasiva was known to many in the rugby community.

"Our 1st XV coaches Galu Letiu and Kas Lealamanua have a close connection with the Magasiva family."

Magasiva died during the early hours of Saturday morning. His death has been referred to the coroner and is not being treated as suspicious.

A private funeral and reception for family and close friends will be held on Friday afternoon.

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This article was first published on NZ Herald and is republished here with permission.