The finest traditions of the New Zealand Police were upheld in the Koiterangi tragedy. On 8th October 1941 Constable Best attempted to speak to farmer Stanley Graham, in Koiterangi near Hokitika, after a report that he had confronted a neighbour with a rifle. Graham pointed two rifles at Constable Best, who retreated to Hokitika for back-up.
He returned to the farm with Sergeant Cooper, and Constables Jordan, and Tulloch. Graham opened fire as they approached, killing Sergeant Cooper and Constables Jordan and Tulloch instantly. Constable Best died three days later in hospital. Graham killed three other civilians before being shot by Police on 20th October after New Zealand's largest manhunt. After 12 days seven people had died, including Graham. An eighth victim died 18 months later from gunshot wounds that they had received.
All of these four men showed great valour giving their lives in the execution of their duty including Constable P. C. Tulloch who, although actually off duty and unarmed, did not hesitate to try and restrain his superior officer's assailant. The following is the text of the 'Policeman's Prayer' found among Constable Tulloch's personal effects, the spirit of which his actions epitomised:
Give me unfailing courage at all time and under all conditions. Let me look into the face of death with unblinking eyes and with no sense of fear. Teach me to realise that there are prowling human wolves ever ready to devour the innocent; that there are depraved creatures cast in comely human mould to whom murder is but and incident and crime in all its hideous phases but an occupation. Grant that may I live my life simply and keep my mind clean.
Let me acquire superlatively the art of self-defence against the cunning wiles of mine own and the people's enemies. Steel me against the machinations of those who would corrupt me. May I never disgrace my uniform or think too lightly of those who, by long service and faithfulness to duty, have earned the right to rank above me. Let me possess the virtues of the soldier on the battle-field. Preserve me from personal vanity and save me from all pettiness in my dealings with those less fortunately placed in life.
Aid me in understanding that my job is a truly noble one; that it involves self-sacrifice, the maintenance of a robust body and a cool head, and that, first and last, I must be a man amongst men. Help me to be lightning quick in determining the right thing to do in grave emergencies. Help me to cultivate a warm heart and a ready hand for the needy and the weak. May I be greatly feared by the law-breakers and greatly loved by my friends.
Teach me to bear myself in storm or sunshine, in congenial or distasteful locations, always as the blue-clad symbol of a civilisation's law without which there would be a little happiness on this earth and no reason whatsoever for human progress.