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Search resumes for missing West Coast tramper

Published: 12:30PM Thursday August 22, 2013 Source: Fairfax

  • A stream on the Heaphy Track in Kahurangi National Park (Source: WIkimedia Commons)
    A stream on the Heaphy Track in Kahurangi National Park - Source: WIkimedia Commons

Search teams have resumed their hunt this morning for a West Coast tramper who hasn't been seen since he set off on the Heaphy Track more than a fortnight ago.

A police spokeswoman said 16 searchers spent all day yesterday looking for Karamea man Andrew Ross White, 58, but did not find him.

The search team was today bolstered by a fourth dog team and an additional Land Search and Rescue team, which would enter the track from the Takaka end.

Yesterday's search had focused on the track's Karamea end.

A helicopter was also being used to aerial search the area.

White started walking the multi-day track from the Takaka end in Golden Bay on August 6.

Police were notified two days ago that he had not been seen since.

After publicity about his disappearance this week, police received reports from members of the public who had seen someone fitting White's description near the Karamea end of the track.

The 78.4km track in the northwest top of the South Island is New Zealand's longest Great Walk.

One end is just north of White's home town, the West Coast's northernmost township with a population of only 423 in the 2006 census.

White, who sometimes went by the name Ross Andrews, purchased two hut tickets for the track, which suggested he planned to only spend two nights on walk.

He was dropped off at its start on August 6 and had stayed the previous night at Nirvana Backpackers in Takaka.

Police said he was not well equipped for his trip and feared for his safety.

He was described as European, about 175cm tall, of thin build with grey hair and balding on top, wearing blue-framed glasses and likely to be wearing a baseball cap.

Police wanted to speak with anyone who had been on the Heaphy Track since August 6 and anyone who might have seen or spoken with White, either in Takaka or elsewhere.

Anyone with information was asked to contact either Westport or Nelson police.