Helpers looking for missing family members have been cautioned to exercise caution.

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Waikato police are asking those who wish to assist in the hunt for a father and his three children not to endanger their lives in the treacherous terrain.

Ngāti Peehi hapū have declared a rāhui on the coastline where Thomas Phillips and his three children went missing.

Kiritehere Beach. Ngāti Peehi hapū have declared a rāhui on the coastline where Thomas Phillips and his three children went missing. Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

The ground-based coastal search resumed on Saturday morning in the remote Marokopa area, west of Te Kuiti.

Thomas Phillips and his three young children, Jayda Jin, 8, Maverick Callum-Phillips, 6, and Ember Phillips, 5, were last seen on Saturday 11 September at Marokopa, west of Te Kuiti.

Phillips’ vehicle was found at Kiritehere Beach on Sunday, but searches along the coastline and in dense bush failed to find any sign of them.

Police said they were aware people from the community wanted to undertake their own searches, to help, but had concerns.

West Waikato area commander Will Loughrin said the area has difficult terrain.

Clockwise from top left, Thomas Phillips, Jayda Jin, Ember Phillips and  Maverick Callum-Phillips.

Clockwise from top left; Thomas Phillips, Jayda Jin, Ember Phillips and Maverick Callum-Phillips. Photo: Supplied / NZ Police

“We understand people want to help, however the search area is extremely challenging and we don’t want a situation where people become injured or trapped, causing another search or rescue incident.

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“We ask anyone wanting to search to stay safe in the sandy beach areas only at Marokopa and Kiritehere.”

Loughrin also urged individuals in the area to properly dispose of any evidence found. He advised that if anything of interest was discovered, it should first be documented if possible, and then police should be contacted promptly at 105.

“Police would prefer to have the opportunity to review all items discovered and then dismiss them if they are not of consequence,” he explained.

Locals have also provided an abundance of food to search crews and police.

Tracey Mitchell, who has a vacation house at Marakopa Beach, cooked some cookies for the search teams with her mother.

Instead, she claims the cops gave her some of the cream they were seeking for because they had so much of it themselves.

Waikato West Area Commander Inspector Will Loughrin.

West Waikato police area commander inspector Will Loughrin. Photo: RNZ / Andrew McRae

Inquiries continue surrounding motorbike and ute

Of the motorbikes thought to be recently owned by Phillips which police were searching for, they have ruled out any 2004 Honda XR400s as being linked to the disappearance.

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However, police still want to find the location of a 2019 Honda CRF50.

And they continue to seek information about the time that Phillips ute was at the beach at Marokopa.

“This continues to be an important line of enquiry… and we strongly encourage anyone who may have had any direct interaction with the vehicle and has not yet been spoken to by police to get in touch as soon as possible,” Loughrin said.

Anyone who saw the ute is asked to call police on 105.

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