A group of about 30 friends and family of missing Mount Maunganui woman Ola Shahin held an anxious vigil near the Lindemann Rd Lookout for many hours yesterday.
She was reported missing at 7.20am on Wednesday and an extensive search involving Land Search and Rescue team and volunteers began about 3.40pm that day.
Shahin's vehicle, which was found parked near the lookout yesterday morning, was then removed from the scene.
A steady stream of family and friends arrived yesterday to help with the search, most of whom had travelled from Auckland, including Shahin's brother and father.
News that the 24-year-old had been found alive and well by Land Search and Rescue members about 3pm in the bush south of Katikati came through about 3.20pm yesterday.
Shahin walked out of the bush with her finders and she was met by her parents in Woodland Rd.
There was lots of back slapping, smiles and hugs among the waiting group.
One of Shahin's friends drove from Auckland on Wednesday to join the search and returned home at 2.30am the next day.
He then drove back to the Bay to rejoin the search yesterday, Colin Whittaker from Tauranga Land Search Rescue team said.
Land Search and Rescue teams and volunteers searched the Lindemann Rd area near Katikati from Wednesday night to the early hours of Thursday morning.
A tracker dog also searched for Shahin using an item of her clothing.
The search resumed at 7.45am yesterday, with three Land Search and Rescue teams including from Tauranga and Waihi and a large number of volunteers involved.
A drone with thermal imaging camera was also used, a police spokesman said.
A woman, who would not be named, said she and a couple of friends came down from Auckland to help after learning about Shahin's disappearance via media reports.
The woman said she and Shahin had grown up together in Auckland, and their brothers were good friends.
Shahin, who the friend described as a "really lovely, happy person, intelligent and very easy going", had been living in Tauranga for just over a year.
Shahin had an engineering internship and was one of six children, the woman said.
"The last time I spoke to Ola was about two weeks ago at a concert in Auckland and when I heard she was missing I was shocked. I thought 'Oh my God I hope she is okay'."
A high school friend of Shahin's, Shehryar Jawed, told the Bay of Plenty Times he was in shock to know his old friend had gone missing.
Police said they wanted to thank everyone who helped in the search, in particular members of the public who provided helpful information.