The families of two men missing in Tongariro National Park gathered at the search site today to place a rāhui on the area.
As the search for Vincent Taurima and Hakopa Ngaronoa entered its 10th day, a karakia led by Ngāti Tūwharetoa could be heard resounding through the historic national park.
A rāhui was placed on the area between Mangamate Stream to the north, Makahikatoa Stream to the south, the Desert Road to the west and Tongariro River to the east.
Placing of rāhui is a cultural practice that will protect the site from disturbance.
Signs will be erected informing the public of the rāhui and to stay out of the designated area.
The rāhui will stay in place until lifted by Ngati Tūwharetoa.
Since the pair went missing on Saturday, August 12, all search activity to date has been unsuccessful in finding them.
Senior Sergeant Tony Jeurissen said the search for the two men is now entering a new phase.
"All information gathered through the search will be reassessed and this will guide the way forward for the search.
"Police are in close contact with the whanau of the two men and remain determined to bring these men home."
He says ongoing support from Ngāti Tūwharetoa has been invaluable and is greatly appreciated.
Taurima, 21, of Hawkes Bay and Ngaronoa, 26, of Palmerston North fled an allegedly stolen vehicle after a police chase on August 12, disappearing into the bush off Tree Trunk Gorge Rd, near the Desert Rd.
The following day they contacted police, saying they were lost and cold and needed help.
Since then, they have not made contact with authorities but searches have located a campfire, a pair of shoes, two piles of clothing and a beanie.
Police have voiced serious concerns for the men's welfare considering their lack of experience in the bush and the inappropriate clothing they had on them.
Relatives, police, Waiouru army personnel, local iwi and more than 100 Land Search and Rescue volunteers have conducted extensive searches over the past 10 days, coming from as far afield as Auckland and Wellington.