A family who went missing in a remote area of New Zealand's North Island three weeks ago have been found.
Police gave up on their search for the family after 12 days, with the family's last sighting coming on September 11 at Marokopa on the island's west coast.
Tom Phillips and his three children Jayda, 8, Maverick, 6, and Ember, 5, have been located safe and well, according to New Zealand police confirmed on Thursday.
The vast rescue effort for the family began September 12, when the Phillips' car was found on a nearby Kiritehere beach during a poor spell of weather.
Police suspended the search last week after a 12-day operation failed to locate the four.
But on Wednesday, a major breakthrough came after four riding bikes were seen on a nearby road at 5.30am (local time).
"This was unusual," NZ police's Waikato West area commander Inspector Will Loughrin said.
"We deployed a fixed wing plane and drones, but they were not located."
Instead, the four turned up unexpectedly at the farm the next day.
"As Dad said, 'I just hope he walks in,' and he has. This is the best-case scenario," Mr Phillips' sister Rozzi Pethybridge told Newshub on Thursday.
'17 days of hell' for Phillips family
Police spent Thursday afternoon questioning Mr Phillips, with Insp Loughrin answering some questions about their getaway but not all.
"We're speaking with them to clarify their movements," he said.
"The area they were likely living in was around 15km south... they were using a tent. They were in dense bush area.
"We know from the family and our our search he was an experienced bushman and had the capability to look after himself."
With everyone safe and well, Insp Loughrin reflected on the remarkable and unexpected end to the lengthy search effort.
"It is extraordinary," he said.
"It is the scenario we had hoped ... to happen this way, it is fantastic for the family.
"It is a family that experienced 17 days of hell. This is a community that experienced 17 days of hell wondering what had happened."
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