The missing diver who turned up safe and well at a Hawkes Bay police station after an extensive two-day search for him near Porirua has been charged with wasting police time.

Colin Smithies, 49, walked into the Clive Police Station shortly after 5pm yesterday.

Teams of police divers and search and rescue volunteers had been scouring the coast 270km away near Titahi Bay after he was reported missing by his partner on Monday.

Police believe he hitchhiked to the Hawkes Bay and want to hear from anyone who may have picked him up or seen him between Titahi Bay and Hawkes Bay.

After arriving at Clive Police Station last night, Mr Smithies was taken to Hawkes Bay Regional Hospital where he received medical treatment, before being transferred back to Wellington.

At a press conference in Wellington this afternoon, Inspector Mike Wright said the cost of the search could have been up to $50,000.

"More of a concern than the terms of cost is the emotional cost to the family of Mr Smithies and to the searchers who have turned out. Many of those are people on holiday, given the time of the year, so they've given up their own personal time."

Police have referred him to medical specialists, suggesting he is of a delicate mental state.

When asked about the reason why he had hit the road, police said that was a matter between Mr Smithies and his family.

He had shown up at Clive disorientated and distressed, police said.

He was remorseful and quite traumatised, and remained with medical professionals.

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