ON AIR: Simon Barnett and Phil Gifford Afternoons

12PM - 4PM

Missing group in Te Urewera National Park found safe

Author
Newstalk ZB staff,
Publish Date
Thu, 21 Jul 2016, 11:29AM
Police say they were alerted just before 4pm yesterday when the group were reported overdue from a walk in Te Urewera National Park. Photo / Alan Gibson
Police say they were alerted just before 4pm yesterday when the group were reported overdue from a walk in Te Urewera National Park. Photo / Alan Gibson

Missing group in Te Urewera National Park found safe

Author
Newstalk ZB staff,
Publish Date
Thu, 21 Jul 2016, 11:29AM

UPDATED 4.47PM A woman and four children missing in bush in Te Urewera have been found safe and well.

Police confirmed all members in the group had been located.

Authorities made the announcement just after 4pm - almost 48 hours after they had entered the bush on Tuesday afternoon.

Eastern Bay of Plenty area commander Inspector Kevin Taylor said: "While we were fully prepared to keep searching through the night if needed, all are relieved and thankful that the group won’t be having to endure a third cold night in the bush.''

Taylor thanked police officers and LandSAR volunteers who had worked tirelessly in the search.

"We are hugely relieved that the group have been found safe and that we are able to return them to their family.''

Police also acknowledged the help and support of the people of Tuhoe, as well as help from the NZ Defence Force.

They were out for was was meant to be a two-hour walk in the Otamatuna Ridge area.

Police were only alerted that they were missing at 4pm yesterday.

Earlier, search teams werre focusing on a number of tracks around Lions Hut while a helicopter is also helping in the search.

The area where the group were missing is known for its rough terrain and thick bush.

That's the word from Operations Development Manager for local iwi Ngai Tuhoe Glenn Mitchell, who said the area around Lions Hut where the search was focused is huge and involves a number of tracks.

Earlier, Mr Mitchell said Tuhoe are very concerned for the group.

"It's very rugged country. It rises up steeply from Waimana Road and there's valleys and streams going right into the back country. We're very concerned for the well-being of the missing party."

He said from the Lions Hut there is 211,000 hectares of Te Urewera and tracks that radiate in all different directions.

Mr Mitchell said most of these tracks are not suitable for children or inexperienced walkers which might narrow down the search for personnel.

ON AIR: Simon Barnett and Phil Gifford Afternoons

12PM - 4PM