The boy who sparked an intensive police and community search around Omana Regional Park is safe and well.
A man involved in the search says the boy, who is believed to be about six or seven, had been safely tucked into his own bed hours earlier.
Late last night, a police eagle helicopter and officers were called to the area, east of Auckland, after a woman reported seeing the distressed boy alone in the area.
Dozens of community members also scoured the area before the search was eventually called off after nothing was found.
His mother, on a Facebook community page, late last night posted her thanks to the community for their concerns.
"Such an amazing community, thank you everyone for your concerns and efforts. I'm embarrassed to say this was my son."
She hadn't realised that her son had spoken to anyone or that he had been reported missing.
"He wandered off through Omana park at about 6pm," she says. "I searched for 45 minutes and he turned up again at the playground, having had a run in with mangroves and nightfall - enough to encourage him towards home."