The parents of missing boy Axel are "beside themselves" as the Tolaga Bay community rallies to search for the 4-year-old.
Police and volunteers are desperately scouring the area for the preschooler, who has been missing for more than 20 hours.
The urgent search for Axle, who was last seen at his rural Mangatuna home near Tolaga Bay around lunchtime yesterday, continued before first light today.
Gisborne mayor Rehette Stoltz said the community has been out in force with police to look for Axle since word spread of his disappearance.
Friends and family were also rallying to support Axle's parents.
"We know he's a cute little 4-year-old boy who went walking with a dog and his parents are beside themselves looking for him.
"The Tolaga Bay community are out in force - they've been out last night, with the police [and] the rescue helicopter looking for little Axle."
She called theirs a close community that also had support from other parts of the Gisborne region.
"Last night, reports came out that everyone in the community were looking in their front yards, back yards, leaving their outside lights on.
"The local rugby club came out ... so lots of people looking for Axle."
Stoltz urged everyone in the Tolaga Bay area to check their yards and keep their eyes and ears open for anything that could lead them to finding the little boy.
Rugby team joins search
Volunteers - including a local rugby team - met police this morning to resume the search, according to a local Facebook page.
Drones and helicopters are hovering above the area and ground search teams have been bolstered by members of the public - some have travelled from as far as Auckland - and local forestry workers.
Between 40 and 50 volunteers plus Land Search and Rescue staff and air support will be searching this morning, police said.
The miniature dog Bro, which Axle had been playing with when he went missing from the Paroa Rd property, returned alone yesterday afternoon - sparking fears for the little boy's safety.
Dog's owner: 'To come back alone really worries me'
The dog's owner, Damon Jeffrey, posted on social media that the white fluffy dog came home about 4pm - three hours after he disappeared with the boy.
Jeffrey said his dog always responded to his call - but this time despite him yelling and whistling for hours he did not.
"There's no way he couldn't hear me calling him. The only reason he wouldn't have come straight back is if something was wrong. And to come back alone really worries me."
They tried to take the dog back out in the hope he would lead them to the boy, but too many searchers were around so the dog became excited and didn't help, he posted.
Jeffrey said they had searched every inch of the Paroa Rd property inside and out including under beds, in cars and around structures.
"The property is reasonably big, but the forestry land behind us is a big area. I just don't understand how he got so far away in such a short amount of time."
Jeffery said the police and community were doing everything they could do to find him and the family had people helping them search well before the police arrived yesterday.
A resident urged people in the Tolaga Bay area to turn on their lights and leave teddies and blankets on their porches to try to entice the boy. It was even suggested they start cooking something warm and welcoming.
A friend posted on Facebook that the boy's mum was devastated.
Two of her good mates lived hours away and she didn't have much support around her, another said.
The boy's uncle posted on social media that he was sad the search had been called off overnight.
Police are urgently appealing for anyone with information about the young boy's whereabouts to come forward.
Yesterday police carried out a large scale search for him since he was reported missing at 3pm, which was called off at 11pm.
Officers including the Eagle helicopter and police dogs, as well as more than 100 volunteers, have been involved in the search.
Axle was last seen wearing a blue shirt with palm trees on it and blue gumboots with sharks on them.
It is understood his parents started looking for him about 1pm when neither of them could find him.
Overnight, temperatures in Gisborne dropped to 4C at 3am.
By 7am, it was about 7C, according to MetService, but that it felt like "three to four layers" of clothing.
Fine weather and a high of 20C is expected today.
Anyone with information about Axle should contact police on 111 and quote event number P046388324.