A man and his three young sons who failed to return home after a hunting trip in the Far North have been found safe.

Missing hunter Peter Hobson and three sons, aged 13, 11 and 10, were found by a local hunter volunteering in the search about 10.30am on Monday morning.

Elder brother George Hobson, from Kaikohe, said he was grateful to the police, volunteers and whanau who had helped in the search.

The father and sons went into the bush about 9am on Sunday for what was supposed to be a three-hour hunt.

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The family of the missing four carried out their own search during the day on Sunday and located their vehicle. Police were alerted just after 11pm.

The search by police and volunteers from Far North Search and Rescue started at 2.30am on Monday morning.

After becoming stuck in a swamp area late on Sunday, the hunting party had decided to hunker down for the night.

They were about 1.6km from search headquarters on Tawata Lane, Mataraua, when found.

Hobson and the three boys did not require medical attention.

Search and rescue teams were deployed to the site, southwest of Kaikohe, for a co-ordinated operation.

From left, the missing hunter's brother-in-law David Williams, sister Rebecca Hobson and brother George Hobson. Photo/Peter de Graaf
From left, the missing hunter's brother-in-law David Williams, sister Rebecca Hobson and brother George Hobson. Photo/Peter de Graaf

Police were told the father was a very experienced hunter. He and his sons were going pig hunting with four dogs.

The weather had been fine during the search, police said.

The incident prompted search co-ordinator Senior Sergeant Cliff Metcalfe to urge anyone heading into the bush - whether it be for four hours or four days - to carry food, water and spare clothing, especially when taking children.