Search for Joseph Ahuriri still ongoing, a year after disappearance during cyclone

8:20 am on 9 February 2024
Joseph Ahuriri, 40, went missing during Cyclone Gabrielle, after leaving home in Gisborne on 13 February heading to Napier.

Joseph Ahuriri was last seen on 14 February, 2023. Photo: Supplied via NZ Police

Police say they are contiuing to try to locate missing Gisborne man Joseph Ahuriri, almost a year after he disappeared during Cyclone Gabrielle.

Ahuriri was last seen at a Waitomo Fuel Stop in Bay View, just north of Napier, early on 14 February, 2023 as the storm struck the region.

Late last year, police and GNS conducted searches of the nearby Eskdale area with a magnometer drone system - which can identify large metallic objects buried underground.

That had since been completed and GNS was reviewing the results, which were due to be released to police in the next month.

Police urged anyone with information which could assist the investigation to contact them by calling 105 or filing a report online.

Ahuriri, a father of eight, had been trying to head back to Gisborne from Napier, but his family previously said they feared his ute was washed away by the floodwaters.

It was also feared Ahuriri, who had links to the Gisborne-based chapter of Black Power NZ, had been targeted due to his gang links.

In 2023, police searched Whakatu, Clive, Esk Valley, the Napier-Taupō road, State Highway 5 and State Highway 2 for the missing 40-year-old.

Police divers and personnel from the Navy's dive and hydrographic unit, HMNZS Matataua, also searched the coastline near Esk River.

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