A police officer who was brutally attacked with a machete on Saturday morning has been overwhelmed by messages of support from workmates and the public, police say.

Taihape Senior Constable Bruce Mellor remains in a serious but stable condition in Palmerston North Hospital after suffering a fractured skull, a broken eye socket and jaw and broken front teeth, cuts to his face, skull, arms and hands and a massive gash running around his forehead to his ear.

He was attacked with a machete after he stopped a stolen red Mazda 323 hatchback just north of Taihape following reports about the northbound car driving erratically.

The attackers left Mr Mellor for dead by the side of the road before crashing and rolling their vehicle a short distance away.

Detective Inspector Chris Bensemann today said Mr Mellor was "on the mend" but further surgery could not be ruled out.

"Bruce is getting the best possible medical and nursing care," Mr Bensemann said.

"He's a very unassuming officer and hugely respected by the Taihape and Waiouru community, where he's been working since transferring in 2004 from Auckland," he said.

Mr Mellor didn't like a "fuss" but appreciated the messages of support and concern shown by people, he said.

Two youths, aged 14 and 18, were remanded in custody when they appeared in Wanganui District Court today. They entered no plea to charges of assaulting Mr Mellor and unlawfully taking a motor vehicle and were granted interim name suppression.

Police are expected to lay more serious charges at a later date.

Police Commissioner Howard Broad today presented Police Minister Judith Collins with a draft report on training more police to use firearms and placing more firearms in more police vehicles.

Mrs Collins, who yesterday described as "horrendous" and "utterly sickening" the machete attack on Mr Mellor, said she would consider the report before further discussions with cabinet colleagues and police officials.

The minister and her commissioner signalled that rural police officers in patrol cars were most likely to receive extra guns.

Prime Minister John Key today said the Government was "very concerned" about the attack on Mr Mellor.

"It's completely unacceptable behaviour, we all understand that," he said.

"We need to make moves to ensure our police officers are safer and the Police Minister is very focused on that, as is the Police Commissioner."

- NZPA