A five-year-old boy with autism who went missing in Rimutaka Forest Park has been found alive, police say.
Police said the boy was walking with his family on the Orongorongo Track, near Catchpool Stream on conservation land south of Wainuiomata when he ran ahead and they lost sight of him at 3:45pm on Saturday.
His family called police soon after and an intensive search was begun, with police, search and rescue personnel, a portable thermal-imaging unit and a search dog.
There were fears for his safety in the forest overnight, with strong winds and rain looking likely and the temperature expected to drop to 12 degrees.
However, police said the search dog found him at around 9:15pm.
His father told ONE News his son was found knee-deep in a stream far from where he had gone missing.