A police officer attacked by a mob in the coastal Waikato town of Kawhia on Friday night has expressed his gratitude for the help he received from locals.
Constable Perry Griffin was knocked to the ground at the town's wharf as the group allegedly kicked him, took his Taser and radio and dislodged his sidearm.
Detective Sergeant Steve Hudson of Te Kuiti CIB said Mr Griffin was recovering from a sore hip as well as bruises and grazing to his face and arms.
"The officer is grateful for the support show by a number of people both from within police and the wider community. However, he has asked that his privacy be respected.
"We have spoken to several witnesses yesterday and today and the course of events has become clearer and we anticipate speaking to several more people over the coming days."
Three people appeared in Hamilton District Court yesterday.
Mr Hudson said police wanted to identify another man thought to have been involved.
"One of the things we have identified as a priority is identifying a person of interest, described only as a male wearing a blue top or shirt who was seen to run across the road to the wharf and knock the officer to the ground early in the incident.
"We would very much like to speak to anyone able to offer any further information on this person, on his identity or what he looked like."
Police Commissioner Peter Marshall said said he had spoken to Mr Griffin this morning and he was keen to get back to work.
He had also acknowledged the "excellent" help he received from local firefighters and district council staff.
"We are grateful for their speedy arrival and their help demonstrates the close cooperation between those in emergency services roles in rural communities," Mr Marshall said.
Mr Marshall said he did not support an increase in the use of firearms by police in light of the assault.
"The use of a firearm as the primary weapon in the Kawhia incident was not appropriate and this was supported by the Kawhia officer and his supervisors," he said.
"This is not a time for political point-scoring exercises. Unfortunately risk is part of the policing job and can never be eliminated, especially when assaults happen without warning."