About 8000 people go missing in New Zealand every year - and the festive period is particularly tough for those left behind.

More than half of those reported missing are found within the first three days. However, around 370 people have been missing for more than 12 months.

"People vanish for different reasons," police spokeswoman Victoria Evans said, "sometimes by their own choice and other times not by choice; for example, they are the victim of foul play, mishap or misadventure." All missing persons files stayed active until the person, or a body or remains, was located.

The Salvation Army also runs a tracing service. Major Peter Bradley said Christmas was a raw time for those looking for help and support. "For the parents of missing children it is particularly difficult as they are surrounded by reminders of happier times."


Major Bradley said social media had led to great strides in tracing people. "The good news is we now have an 87 per cent success rate at locating people but you have to remember, not everyone wants to be found."

If you have information about a missing person, call the police freephone 0800 555 111 or email the Salvation Army: family_tracing@nzf.salvationarmy.org