Remuera death: Traces of methamphetamine found at house where Pauline Hanna died

Traces of methamphetamine were found at the Remuera residence where Pauline Hanna was found dead six weeks ago, the Herald understands.

Several sources close to the investigation into Hanna’s mysterious death said that traces of the illegal drug were discovered during a police search of the $4 million Upland Rd home that she shared with her husband Philip Polkinghorne, an eye surgeon.

The Herald contacted Polkinghorne and his lawyer for comment.

Police did not respond directly to questions about the methamphetamine traces and reiterated earlier comments that the investigation is ongoing. Detectives are treating Hanna’s death as “unexplained”.

Detective Inspector Aaron Pascoe, from the Auckland Criminal Investigation Branch, said in a statement: “Police will not be commenting on any specifics of our ongoing investigation into Pauline Hanna’s sudden death at this time.”

The case has captivated residents of one of Auckland’s most affluent neighbourhoods

Hanna, 63, was a senior health executive who spent more than 30 years at Counties Manukau district health board. She was heavily involved in the emergency response to the coronavirus outbreak last year.

Friends and family portrayed Hanna as an elegant, accomplished woman who worked hard for her community.

Polkinghorne, her husband of 30 years, described her as a “remarkable” woman and said they had an adoring relationship.

“Our relationship wasn’t fine, it wasn’t fine at all, it was perfect,” Polkinghorne told the Herald last month, in his only interview since his wife’s death.

Hanna was found dead on the morning of Easter Monday. Police spent 11 days at the Upland Rd residence and their inquiries are ongoing.

Last week, detectives broadened their investigation, interviewing a barber and a female masseuse known to Polkinghorne.

The Herald was told by a source that Polkinghorne was a frequent visitor to the masseuse, who is based on Auckland’s North Shore.

His Mercedes Benz, which has a distinctive personalised number plate, was often seen outside the masseuse’s property, the person said.

Polkinghorne did not comment on those claims when contacted by the Herald on Friday.

“Their marriage was unique,” a source said. “Pauline was aware of a lot of things that went on in her marriage. Love comes in different forms and shapes, but they loved each other.”

“The loss is insurmountable. I just can’t think straight,” Polkinghorne told the Herald in early April. He has since refused to talk to the media.

Police have provided little information about their investigation, known as “Operation Kian”. However, some details have emerged from sources familiar with the inquiry.

Two weeks ago, it emerged that Hanna had contacted a private investigator before her death.

Several private investigators have told the Herald police had contacted them in a bid to confirm if Hanna had enlisted their services.

One investigator, who asked not to be named, said he received an email from a detective on April 12, a week after Hanna’s death.

“It stated they had information suggesting that the deceased had engaged the services of a private investigator and had we worked for her – we had not.

“But there was also a note found at the house that said ‘private investigator’ and the name ‘James’ on it,” he said.

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