Vaimoana Tapaleao is the New Zealand Herald's Pacific Affairs and People reporter.

Dozens join search for missing Wellington woman

The search continues today for a woman with a mental impairment who was last seen two days ago.

Police say they hold grave concerns for Mary Berrington, 62, has not been seen or heard from since Tuesday night when a family member spoke to her at her home in Upper Hutt about 9pm.

She was believed to be wearing a dark polar fleece jacket and dark leggings. She may have stopped taking her medication, said police.

Berrington has gone missing before, Sergeant Anthony Harmer said today, "hiding from the outside world".

"We have known her in the past to hide in trees and bushes and not respond to people calling for her.

"That makes this search particularly difficult because in Mary's mind she may think she's done something wrong.

"She certainly hasn't. Mary's done nothing wrong so we are calling on members of the public to do those checks for us when they can do so safely," Harmer said.

He urged residents of the Wallaceville and Whakatiki area of Upper Hutt to check their backyards where Berrington may be hiding.

Police, dozens of volunteers and members of the public are searching suburban areas in and around Wellington.

A family friend told the Herald people had come from all over Wellington and even Wairarapa to help.

The man, who asked not to be named, said the last person to see or speak to Berrington was her adult daughter.

"She's quite upset, obviously."

Authorities are also asking members of the public wanting to help in the search to stick to main streets, public areas and tracks.

Berrington was reported missing when her caregivers went to her house on Wednesday morning and she wasn't there.

• Anyone who has seen Mary is asked to call police on (04) 527 2300 or call 111 immediately.

- NZ Herald

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