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Ten search teams scouring Te Urewera bush for woman and four children
21 July 2016

Search and rescue teams are continuing to comb a section of Te Urewera National Park to find a woman and four children reported missing yesterday afternoon.

Eastern Bay of Plenty Area Commander Inspector Kevin Taylor said every effort was being made to locate them.

"At this stage we have 10 search teams combing the area, supported by helicopters, with a focus on finding them as soon as possible," he said.

"We've also got excellent support from local iwi and LandSAR volunteers with the search operation."

Mr Taylor said it was understood the group were equipped with warm clothing, but it was unclear how much food they had given they had been on a short walk.

However, weather in the area was currently fine, still and reasonably warm, which was a positive.

Search and rescue teams and a helicopter have been searching in the Otamatuna Ridge area overnight and continue today.

Te Urewera is part managed by a Tuhoe iwi authority Te Uru Taumatua.

Operations development manager Glenn Mitchell told ONE News the family is from Waimana.

While he wouldn't disclose names he said that where the group was dropped off is near the Waimana Lions lodge.

"I do know the lady, I do know the experience," Mr Mitchell said.

"There's a short day walk, their intention was to do that walk but unfortunately it appears they set off on the wrong track.

"It's a point which is intensively managed for pest control with track lines for predator traps."

It wouldn't be difficult for an inexperienced person to wander off a marked walking track because of those lines, he said.

Mr Mitchell said the authority was pulling in its staff to make them available for the walk.

He wouldn't comment on the level of concern but said overnight the weather had been fine with no local frosts.

TVNZ

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