Rescuers searching for a missing tramper north of Wellington have made contact with the man on his cell phone.

The 22-year-old Upper Hutt man went missing in freezing conditions yesterday after heading into Tararua Forest Park to search for his lost dog.

While he was believed to be well equipped, there had been heavy snow in the area and police were concerned for his safety.

About 10.40am today, police made contact with the man on his cell phone and he was uninjured and in good spirits, said a Wellington police communications shift inspector.


He was in a gully off the main track and could describe his location to rescuers who were on their way to meet him.

Senior Constable Tony Matheson told Newstalk ZB the man had spotted what he thought were his dog's foot prints in the snow, and followed them down until he ended up in a creek.

This morning he walked to higher altitude where he had cellphone reception.

His dog was still missing.

- Additional reporting Newstalk ZB