Missing family: Mum 'just wants Tom, Jayda, Maverick and Ember home'

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 20 Sep 2021, 2:24PM
Thomas Phillips and his children have returned home safety. (Photo / NZME)
Thomas Phillips and his children have returned home safety. (Photo / NZME)

Missing family: Mum 'just wants Tom, Jayda, Maverick and Ember home'

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 20 Sep 2021, 2:24PM

The search for an Otorohanga family - missing for more than a week - continues on the ground and in the air today.

Tom Phillips and his three children, Jayda, Maverick and Ember, haven't been seen since catching up with family at Marokopa on the evening of Saturday, September 11.

Family, including uncle Paul Phillips, said there was nothing out of the ordinary in regards to Tom's behaviour.

There were still a few possibilities about what had happened including that they had been swept off Kiritehere Beach or Tom had taken them camping.

As they days stretched on last week, Paul Phillips was getting more and more nervous about finding them alive.

"Our biggest fear is that it's possible that a rogue wave came in and swept them out to sea. Because Tom was an extremely resilient person we're hopeful that Tom has taken the children camping.

"That's something that he was more than capable of, yes, he was a very resilient man, a capable hunter and he knew how to look after himself and knew his way around the bush.

"It's looking more and more likely that it's not the answer we want," Phillips told the Herald last week.

Police are appealing for sightings of Tom Phillips' Toyota Hilux found abaondoned on Kiritehere Beach. Photo / NZ Police

Police are appealing for sightings of Tom Phillips' Toyota Hilux found abaondoned on Kiritehere Beach. Photo / NZ Police

Police yesterday disestablished their search base at the Marokopa Hall but confirmed the search would continue.

West Waikato area commander Inspector Will Loughrin said the physical search was ongoing today, with police search teams focussing on the area at low tide.

Searches by air were being carried out by a Coastguard NZ air patrol using a fixed-wing plane, a local helicopter operator with police air observers on board, and the police drone.

The children's mother today thanked those who had been involved in the search, including Waikato Police Search and Rescue staff, Waitomo LandSAR, Hamilton LandSAR, Fire and Emergency New Zealand,and Surf Life Saving NZ.

"We also want to thank the air support units who have been helping with the search, the local Iwi and community for their support, and preparation of food donations, any koha given and the families of everyone mentioned for supporting them during their time helping our family.

Tom Phillips' vehicle was found at the southern end of Kiritehere Beach, pictured above. Photo / Belinda Feek

Tom Phillips' vehicle was found at the southern end of Kiritehere Beach, pictured above. Photo / Belinda Feek

"We have been incredibly humbled by the generosity and support shown by everyone during this difficult time.

"We all just want Tom, Jayda, Maverick and Ember home."

Loughrin is also appealing for members of the public who had any photos or video footage showing the weather or sea conditions at both Marokopa and Kiritehere on the weekend of 11 and 12 September contact.

That could be done by calling 105 and quoting file number 210913/1952.