The Police Association says it is not always practical or possible to avoid having sole-charge officers in rural towns.
Members of the public had to help Dannevirke's only police officer when about 40 drunk partygoers pelted his patrol car with bottles early on Sunday morning.
Community leaders have praised their help and called for a return to 24-hour policing in small towns. Tararua District Mayor Maureen Reynolds has commended Dannevirke people for their help.
Police reinforcements were sent from Palmerston North.
Association president Greg O'Connor says that in an ideal world every police officer would have a partner, but because New Zealand's police force is so widely dispersed, that is not always possible.
Mr O'Connor says officers in small towns inevitably work by themselves.