Search over for mother, children

The search is over for a mother and her two children who were feared taken hostage by a man who was reportedly armed.

Police began searching for a four-wheel-drive being driven by a man with a female passenger - seen to be in a distressed state - and two young children about 2.20pm.

TVNZ reported that an emergency call was also made by someone, believed to be an occupant of the vehicle, asking for help.

The search started in Cambridge before an unconfirmed sighting of the car in Waihi.

The family's vehicle stopped by police in Napier shortly before 7pm this evening.

Eastern Waikato Area Commander Inspector Dana McDonald said they were liaising with their Eastern District colleagues but confirmed all members of the family were safe and well.

"A considerable number of police from across the Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Northern Communications Centre and now Eastern District have been involved in the search for the family and I would just like to acknowledge their efforts."

Earlier today, armed police checked houses in Te Puna.

A police spokesman said this evening that no firearm was recovered or reported to them.

Mr McDonald acknowledged the members of the public who helped with the enquiry.

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