Two teenagers who escaped from a youth justice facility in Auckland during the weekend are believed to have smashed through a reinforced window late at night before fleeing across a roof and through the staff car park.
Police are hunting for Haami Hanara, 16, and Sean Ratu, 17, after they escaped custody from Korowai Manaaki on Saturday.
Oranga Tamariki, which operates the facility, says staff discovered their disappearance at around 9.30pm and called police when they couldn't find them.
"Neither of the teenagers has escaped from a youth justice residence in the past. Sean has previously absconded from a community-based placement," Allan Boreham, deputy chief executive of the youth justice service, told 1 NEWS today.
"Initial inquiries indicate the teenagers broke out through a reinforced window, before escaping across a roof and through the staff car park."
He says Oranga Tamariki's focus is on understanding how they were able to escape "as we don't want this to happen again".
Hanara was sentenced to life in prison last year after murdering Kelly Donner, 40, when he was 14 years old.
Police issued a public alert yesterday after the boys escaped, appealing for sightings of them.
While police initially didn't say they had escaped custody, they did say both teenagers were considered dangerous and shouldn't be approached.
Mr Donner's family were contacted before the escape was made public, Mr Boreham says.
Police say they're still trying to track him down and Detective Senior Sergeant Albie Alexander is appealing for Hanara to hand himself in.
"My message to Hanara is to do the right thing and hand yourself in to the nearest police station," he says.
"Anyone who may be assisting Hanara in evading police are warned that they could face criminal charges themselves."
Mr Alexander says "every effort" is being made to track the teenagers down.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told media today she was concerned that the two teenagers had escaped.
"Obviously, a wide scale investigation and hunt is underway by the police and we will need to look into exactly what happened within the facility that allowed that to happen in the first place," she said.
Korowai Manaaki houses young people with "active or proven charges in the courts", including people convicted who are considered better managed in such a facility instead of prison.
"Each young person is assessed by a team of professionals to ensure the residence is the most suitable place for both them and the community," Mr Boreham says.
Children's Minister Tracey Martin, who is the minister responsible for Oranga Tamariki, says she's "concerned and disappointed" about the escape.
"At the moment my key concern is public safety and that these two are both returned to a secure facility," she told 1 NEWS.