Two clues have been discovered in the search for Darren Myers, the 49-year-old tramper missing in the Tararua Ranges for nine days.
Police have revealed that a chocolate bar wrapper possibly belonging to him has been found wedged in rocks in the headwaters of Arete Stream, where he was last known to be.
The wrapper was in very good condition, with an expiry date of 2020, and Mr Myers was known to have had that brand of chocolate with him.
Police said the wrapper could have arrived in the Arete Stream because of severe weather conditions.
Searchers also suspect a series of bootprints in mud were left by Mr Myers.
"The boot prints were infrequent and indicated a single person travelling on the Northern Crossing route prior to the recent snow fall," Sergeant Tony Matheson said in a release.
"Due to the age of the boot prints there is no pattern to assist with identification but we suspect they belong to Darren and date back to the day he left Arete Bivouac."
The search today had a focus on the areas highlighted by the clues, Sergeant Matheson said.