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Remuera death: Husband Philip Polkinghorne faces review by ‘concerned’ colleagues

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A prominent eye surgeon whose wife died in “unexplained” circumstances at their $4 million Remuera home is now facing a review by his colleagues.

Auckland Eye said it was “concerned” by information published by the New Zealand Herald earlier this week that traces of methamphetamine had been found during a police search of the home in the upmarket Auckland home which Philip Polkinghorne shared with his wife of almost 30 years, Pauline Hanna.

Auckland Eye also confirmed that Polkinghorne has also resigned from its board.

Hanna, 63, was found dead at the home on Easter Monday.

Almost six weeks on, police are still treating the death as “unexplained”.

“We were concerned about the information published recently in the New Zealand Herald. We have structured clinical review processes in place to ensure our medical practices are of the very highest standards,” Auckland Eye chief executive Deb Boyd said in a statement.

“We have been reviewing Dr Polkinghorne’s recent clinical practice and out of an abundance of caution, we are in the process of appointing an independent clinical expert to assist in this review.”

Polkinghorne is now on extended bereavement leave.

His photo and profile have been removed from the Auckland Eye website.

“I can confirm Dr Polkinghorne has resigned from the board,” Boyd added.

Polkinghorne could not be reached for comment.

Earlier this week the Herald reported traces of methamphetamine were found during a police search of the Upland Rd home.

Detectives spent 11 days examining the house – they are treating Hanna’s death as unexplained.

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

The mysterious death has captivated Auckland’s elite and rich-listers.

Hanna was a senior health executive who spent more than 20 years at the Counties Manukau District Health Board. She was heavily involved in the emergency response to the Covid-19 outbreak last year.

Family and friends portrayed Hanna as an elegant, generous 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.

A former colleague of Hanna’s who didn’t want to be named told the Herald police questioned her about Pauline’s state of mind and what her relationship with Polkinghorne was like.

Detectives have also broadened their investigation, interviewing a barber and a 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 White C Class Mercedes Benz with a distinctive personalised number plate, was often seen outside the masseuse’s property, the person said.

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

“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 form and shapes, but they loved each other.”

Police have provided little information about their investigation, known as “Operation Kian.”

However, some details have emerged from sources familiar with the inquiry.

Three 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 a note found at the house that said ‘private investigator’, and the name ‘James’ on it,” he said.

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