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Northland preschooler safe after ordeal

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 20/05/2016
Hailey Alver © NZ Police Hailey Alver

Police "threw everything" at finding a Northland preschooler who greeted her rescuers with a smile in a cold Northland pine forest.

Hailey Alver, four, was reported missing from a rural Arapohue property on Thursday afternoon and after she wasn't found by family and friends, search and rescue teams plus emergency services were called in to help.

More than 40 people from police, the Fire Service, search and rescue volunteers, locals and two helicopters joined the search for Hailey.

She was found standing beside a tree in a pine forest 600 metres from her home just before 10pm, cold and asking for her mother.

Sergeant Craig Curnow said a rescuer picked Hailey up for "a big cuddle".

"We threw everything we had at finding Hailey," he said.

"It wasn't just emergency services, the local community helped and people were leaving work early, and getting on quad bikes or walking alongside us with torches to find her."

It appeared Hailey had decided to "go for a wander", and police were relieved to find her before the weather took a turn for the worse, he said.

Hailey's mother Kerry Turek said her daughter was safe and well and had moved on quickly from the experience.

"I'd like to say to other parents that if you're ever in this situation then don't hesitate, call police right away," she said.

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