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Missing woman, children found in park

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 21/07/2016
Native bush at Kahurangi in Nelson. © imageBROKER/REX Shutterstock Native bush at Kahurangi in Nelson.

A woman and four children missing for two days in Te Urewera National Park have been found safe and well.

The woman and children, aged between four and nine, only intended to walk around the Otamatuna Ridge area, south of Whakatane, for an hour or two on Tuesday.

A rescue mission got under way on Wednesday afternoon when they were reported missing and ten search teams and a helicopter were scouring the area on Thursday.

In the afternoon, police announced they had found the group at about 3.45pm.

They were being winched out by helicopter and would have their health checked afterwards.

Rescuers earlier believed the group were equipped with warm clothing but it was unclear how much food they had.

Inspector Kevin Taylor said there were concerns about their safety because of the children's age.

"We are hugely relieved that the group have been found safe, and that we are able to return them to their family," he said.

"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."

It's the third time in as many weeks trampers have spent nights in the bush unexpectedly, and the second involving children, according to the Mountain Safety Council.

"It's a real concern that people are heading out in winter without considering the possibility that things might not go according to plan, especially with kids involved," chief executive Mike Daisley said.

The council is urging people to carry the right equipment and have a plan in case they get injured or lost.

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