Dunedin man Stephen Lowe popped out of work one Friday morning for "two minutes", but never returned.

Nine days on, the only clue as to his disappearance was his car, found in an undisclosed location by a member of the public in coastal Otago four days after he was last seen.

Today the search continues for the missing man, with a team of around 50, including search and rescue volunteers, focusing on the Catlins area.

Police said the terrain in the search area was very challenging and thanked all those who had been working tirelessly to try and find Lowe.

Advertisement

His family have been worried sick about Lowe, in his fifties, who has not been seen since he left work about 10am on Friday, September 15.

Lowe left his Portsmouth Dr workplace in his black 2005 BMW hatchback about 10am. He told his boss he was "popping out for two minutes" and never returned.

The car had $50 of petrol in the tank and Lowe had not used his bank cards or mobile phone since going missing.

Earlier Liz Carroll-Lowe told the Otago Daily Times her husband's disappearance had come as a "total shock" as the pair had just returned from a 13-day holiday in Te Anau.

"It was the best holiday in our lives. He only got back to work on Thursday. And this happened on the Friday."

Earlier this year Lowe had a workplace accident and had spent several months off work.

Carroll-Lowe then suffered a serious illness and was in hospital for two months.

The vacation was to celebrate putting those difficulties behind them and next month would mark 20 years since the pair first met.

"After three days, we are pretty worried. It's possible we are only going to find a body, but we just want him home."

The support from the public had been "amazing"; people were helping to search and sharing his photo across social media.

One man had even used his plane to search the area around Lake Mahinerangi.

Carroll-Lowe said the search needed to continue.

"He's a dad. He's a husband. He's a granddad. He's a brother. And we just want to get him home."