Bad weather is hampering efforts in the search for three people missing off a New Plymouth beach since Wednesday afternoon.
Police are now using coastal forecasters to try and locate the bodies of climbing instructor Bryce Jourdain and 17-year-old Spotswood College students Stephen Lewis Kahukaka-Gedye and Joao Felipe Martins De Melo.
The three men are thought to have drowned after being swept out to sea during a rock climbing expedition at Paritutu Rock on Wednesday.
"The biggest challenge for us is the swell conditions in the sea and around the rocks," said Incident Controller Inspector Frank Grant.
"Tomorrow we're extending north up to the airport and perhaps a little bit further," he said.
Police have now contracted an oceanographer to try and map the currents, and track the whereabouts of the bodies.
Grant said a number of volunteers, alongside searchers from police, land search and rescue, army territorials and Red Cross, were conducting searches along the coastline today.
Taranaki Rescue Crewman Andy Cronin said it was difficult with the changing sea conditions but said searchers were "optimistic".
"[It's] Nice to see the community coming out to play their part. Teams are getting tired and sore, but all are pretty passionate about searching for those guys and bringing them back to their families."
Campbell Shaw, a local student who survived the tragedy, told ONE News the students were not tied to the rock when the wave hit.
But Shaw said they felt safe because they were on a flat area.
Searchers have found several items linked to the missing men, but have yet to confirm they belong to the missing climbers.
A police investigation into the disappearances is now turning to how the rock-climbing adventure went wrong.
Eleven Year 13 students from Spotswood College were doing a Taranaki Outdoor Pursuit Education Centre (TOPEC) rock-climbing exercise at Paritutu Rock when the accident occurred.
Police have begun interviewing students and an instructor who were part of the expedition.
"Yesterday police continued speaking to witnesses as part of the investigation into the circumstances which led to Wednesday afternoon's tragic incident," said Grant.
"Our investigation is likely to take several weeks to complete."
TOPEC Board Chairman David Grigg said today he had started an internal investigation into the incident.
"TOPEC is working to support our staff and community and will continue to respond to events as they unfold. We are working closely with the Police and Department of Labour as they commence their investigation.
"At this time, as search operations continue, our thoughts and
prayers are with the missing and their families," Grigg said.