TODAY |

'Out of character' - Police concerned for missing man, three kids in coastal township

A large search and rescue operation is ongoing for a missing man and three children near Marokopa, south of Hamilton.

Source: 1 NEWS

Police, LandSAR, Fire and Emergency NZ and the Coastguard have joined forces to try and find the group in what is an isolated part of the country.

Police on Tuesday said 37-year-old Thomas Philips from Otorohanga, eight-year-old Jayda Jin, six-year-old Maverick Callum-Philips and five-year-old Ember Philips were last seen in the area on Saturday.

Philips' vehicle was found at the beach in Kiritehere on Sunday.

Inspector Will Loughrin said a helicopter, fixed-wing plane and three drones were scouring a wide search area that includes the beach, township, bush and sea.

Inspector Will Loughrin said the family of Thomas Phillips are "really upset" after his disappearance with three children. Source: 1 NEWS

"We’ve got our concerns, this is out of character and this is day four so there are a lot of resources being placed into the search," Loughrin said.

Loughrin told reporters the car had been discovered with waves crashing over the bonnet. The family learnt of the abandoned car and alerted police the group was missing on Monday morning. A search and rescue operation began immediately.

While a concerning incident, Loughrin said there was no suggestion of foul play and the disappearance was completely out of character for Phillips, whose family were "really upset".

"Naturally, they're struggling with the fact Thomas and the kids are missing," he said.

Police are continuing to door-knock throughout the small community, while they urge anyone with information or who may have seen the group to call 105.