Remuera death: Police investigations continue as Pauline Hanna’s family prepare for funeral

Police continue to carry out a scene examination of a Remuera home where a Counties Manukau District Health Board staffer died, as her family prepare to farewell her.

Pauline Hanna, also known as Pauline Polkinghorne, was a senior manager at the DHB and was found dead at her home on the morning of Monday, April 5. Police staff were still at the property yesterday.

Police are treating Hanna’s death as unexplained, while her husband, Philip, says he has been treated as a “person of suspect”.

The 63-year-old’s colleagues at the DHB issued a statement saying Hanna was a “highly respected and much-loved member of staff”.

“Pauline held various roles within the DHB since joining in mid-1998 and was most recently seconded to lead the Auckland region’s logistic supply chain work related to Covid-19.

“The passing of Pauline has left a large hole in the fabric of our whānau and our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends at this time.”

Detective Inspector Aaron Pascoe, Auckland City CIB, said police would continue to investigate her death in the days to come.

“The scene examination remains ongoing at the Upland Road property. This examination is nearing completion and we anticipate it to continue for the next few days.”

A post mortem was carried out last week when police were awaiting results from other inquiries.

Hanna will be farewelled at St Mary’s in Holy Trinity, Parnell, at 10am on Thursday.

Her death notice states she was a grandmother to two children, and mother of three boys.

It also acknowledges her DHB colleagues and husband, and “eternal friend”, Philip Polkinghorne.

Polkinghorne, an eye specialist, told the Weekend Herald he was struggling with her death and that he “just can’t think straight”.

Hanna was an executive project director at the DHB.

“She was incredibly hardworking, a magnificent woman who worked very hard for her community – she gave everything she had to make a success of the Covid programme making sure the hospitals had the right equipment and supplies. She worked night and day, Sunday was the last time she had a bit of time off.”

He said he found his wife of nearly 30 years dead early on Monday morning.

Polkinghorne said Hanna worked all through Easter but they were able to spend some time together on Sunday.

The couple went to Highland Park, where Hanna checked in on one of the vaccination stations before having lunch together and going home. After dinner, the pair watched television together and Hanna helped Polkinghorne write a letter.

“I said goodnight to her. I went to bed and she went to bed. That was the last time I saw her alive.”

The following day Polkinghorne got up to make breakfast around 7am. The pair had planned to go to the gym after breakfast.

“Normally I go before her but she wanted to go to the gym at 9am. I think she had a meeting at 10.30. I got up to make her tea and toast – that’s what she always had. She is the only person in the world that I know who can have a cup of tea lying on her back,” Polkinghorne said.

“Then I found her dead. It was just horrible, horrible, horrible.”

Polkinghorne said there were no problems in their marriage.

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