Marokopa mystery: Mum of missing kids breaks silence

The mother of the missing Phillips children has appealed for people's help in getting them returned them to her.

Today marks one week since police offered an $80,000 reward for information that would help discover their whereabouts. It is also one of the children's 11th birthday.

Ember, Maverick and Jayda Phillips have been missing along with their father for two and a-half years. Police believe they are in the Marokopa area in the King Country.

Today their mum, Cat, said she was begging for people's help in finding them.

Photo: Supplied / Police
Photo: Supplied / Police
In a video provided by police she said: "They are just innocent children. They do not deserve to be treated this way.

"They do not deserve the life that is being provided to them right now."

Referring to her daughter's birthday, Cat said: "She will be a young woman now and she needs her mother."

Her other daughter, Ember, was asthmatic and needed medical care "that cannot be provided from the land", Cat said.

"And I can only imagine how Maverick is coping with the hand that life has dealt to him.

"Many of you say that the children are fine, that they're being well looked after.

"How do you know? Have you seen them? Or is it just bush talk?"

Ember, Maverick and Jaya Phillips Photo: Supplied
Ember, Maverick and Jaya Phillips Photo: Supplied
She then took aim at her estranged husband, Tom, accusing him of child neglect, endangerment, abandonment and abuse.

"What Thomas is doing is not okay. It is not okay to divide and conquer.

"It is not okay to isolate and endanger.

"None of this is okay. My babies deserve better."

She concluded by asking anyone with information to ring the police.

In a statement accompanying the video, Acting Detective Inspector Andrew Saunders said the children's mother wanted to retain her privacy but believed it was important to mark her daughter's birthday.

He said police had received more than 100 pieces of new information via phone calls, emails and personal approaches to them since the reward was announced.

"We're continuing to assess the information and conduct follow-up enquiries.

"As a result of our enquiries we have identified 40 reports that we think are worthy of consideration and which are now being investigated further."

While details of the leads wouldn't be shared, police remained committed to "getting a result".

"While Marokopa continues to be a focus for the ongoing investigation, enquiries are being carried out in surrounding areas including Honikiwi and Otorohanga and we're appealing for anyone who has observed suspicious behaviour in these areas in recent months to please contact police."

Checkpoints in the small coastal town of Marokopa were lifted last Friday amid reports of local residents becoming frustrated by the presence of large numbers of police.

He repeated earlier calls for anyone with credible information to get in touch via or on 105 or [ online].

The reward offer expires next week.