WARKWORTH POLICE DISTRICT
The sole charge police district covered the districts of Orewa, Waiwera, Puhio, Tahekaroa, Warkworth, Matakana, Leigh, Pakiri, Kaipara Flats, to the Dome Valley North of Warkworth. The coastal areas, including Kawau Island and the smaller near Islands, also part of the district.
The Constable was available at call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If required, assistance was available to the South in Auckland, or at Wellsford to the North. During the 1920’s and 30’s, especially in the winter months, the roads South and North were often impassable for periods of time. The horse was the main mode of transport, and hiring a boat was necessary for calls to the near islands, and coastal drowning etc.
Warkworth did not have the services of a morgue, ambulance, armed offenders squads, hospital accident facilities, immediate police back up, and the officer in charge had to manage these issues with improvisation.
The Officer in charge was provided with a police house, salary as Police officer, allowance as Clerk of the Court. He had to provide his own transport, a horse, and a car for which he received a small allowance to cover expenditure.
The horse was called Don. A large gelding who filled his role admirably. A bit strong willed. On one occasion he arrived home from Makana with no rider, he had been tied up with his reins whilst Constable was on a case, and he became fed up waiting, and chewed his reins through and came home by himself. The horse was sold in late 30’s when roads became more passable, and he for some years appeared at local shows as a talented show jumper. Car journeys in 1920’s and 1930’s on Northlands clay roads was often an adventure in itself.
In the late 20’s and early 30’s the most difficult hills had a permanent roadman in attendance. He would have a hut, usually half way up a hill, and his job was to clean the road drains, and repair the major pot holes in the road. He would have a wheel barrow, a shovel, axe and pick. His hut was one room, a corrugated iron chimney, a table (table clothe a newspaper), chair, and a bunk usually some manuka poles with a chaff sack fixed over the poles comprised his bed. Constable Robertson always called on these men, and usually had a cup of tea. These roadmen knew all the traffic movements in the area, and could be helpful to the Constable. On another occasion he took one of the roadman to a doctor for medical treatment. The Roman Catholic priest, Father Skinner, at Puhoi was often given a ride in his car. The priest did not always have a vehicle, and attended his parish needs on foot.