About 50 volunteers have joined the full-scale search for a four-year-old boy missing on the East Cape.
Police and volunteers have been looking for the boy, named Axle, since yesterday afternoon when he was reported to have walked off from his rural Mangatuna home near Tolaga Bay.
The search yesterday included police dogs and a helicopter, and a small team continued to search in the darkness until 11pm
A farmer who attended today's early morning briefing told RNZ the location being searched is in a forested area that has a river running through it.
The area is about 7km inland from the coast.
RNZ understands the boy and his family are new to the community.
The farmer said the community was feeling distressed for the family and was getting behind the search for him.
Land Search and Rescue and helicopter staff are also involved in the search.
Police still urgently want to hear from anyone who might have seen Axle, or has any information that can help. People with information can call police on 111 and quote event number P046388324.
He was last seen wearing a blue shirt with palm trees on it, and blue gumboots with sharks on them.
Axle was with a small white dog when he left, but the pet has since been found.