Bodies of two men missing in Tongariro National Park found

NZ Herald Staff,
Publish Date
Saturday, 9 September 2017, 4:18PM
A search member continues day nine of the search for the two missing men. (Photo: NZ Herald/Supplied)
A search member continues day nine of the search for the two missing men. (Photo: NZ Herald/Supplied)

The bodies of two men who fled from police have been found in Tongariro National Park.

Police said the bodies were discovered today, and the men's families had been informed.

Police Iwi Liaison Officers are continuing to offer them support.

The discovery came after an extensive search over the past four weeks by Police, LandSAR, specialist search teams, Police National Dive Squad, dogs, and hundreds of volunteers.

The men were found south of the Mangatawai stream between 1pm and 2.30pm, a police spokesperson said.

Three teams consisting of a dozen people were searching the area.

"Police were committed to finding the men," the spokesperson said.

Police thanked everyone who assisted with the search.

"It is important that we have been able to bring the men back to their whānau to provide them with a sense of closure at this difficult time," Senior Constable Barry Shepherd said.

The men's deaths will be referred to the Coroner.

Vincent Taurima and Hakopa Ngaronoa disappeared in the park on August 12.

They were allegedly driving a stolen vehicle, prompting the police chase, before disappearing into the bush off Tree Trunk Gorge Rd, near the Desert Rd.

The following day they made contact with police, saying they were lost and cold and needed help.

Previous searches uncovered a campfire, a pair of shoes, two piles of clothing and a beanie.

Police have previously voiced serious concerns for the men's welfare considering their lack of experience in the bush and the inappropriate clothing they were wearing.

Searches had concentrated on the far eastern edge of the Tongariro National Park.

The police spokesperson said the search for the pair had never been called off.

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