Woman and children missing in Te Urewera found safe and well

The woman and four children missing in Te Urewera have been found safe and well. 

All five members of the group were located by search and rescue just before 4pm.

The group entered the dense Te Urewera forest at around 1pm on Tuesday and were reported missing at around 4pm on Wednesday. 

Eastern Bay of Plenty Area Commander Inspector Kevin Taylor said search teams had been combing the Otamatuna Ridge / Lions Hut area for the group.

“We are hugely relieved that the group have been found safe, and that we are able to return them to their family. We also acknowledge the fantastic efforts of all of the search teams, including LandSAR volunteers and Police staff, who have been working tirelessly to find them. Also, a huge thank you to the people of Tuhoe who have provided excellent support throughout the search operation, and to the New Zealand Defence Force who offered assistance."

The group was reportedly found about 3.45pm today and are in the process of being winched out by helicopter, after which they will be assessed.

“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,” Mr Taylor said.

Family have also been advised of the good news.