The son of a man missing for 13 years says he always believed his father was alive and is pleading for him to come forward to end the family's anguish.

"I know he is still around somewhere," Lester Roberts said of his father Robert Te Paewhenua Roberts who disappeared in 2004.

Mr Roberts, known as Bobby, went missing after his work van careered off the Kaimai Range lookout. His body was never found.

This week, two Tauranga men say they have since seen Mr Roberts. Their comments come after Coroner Gordon Matenga held a coronial inquest in Hamilton.


In an emotional interview with the Bay of Plenty Times, Lester Roberts said the family was still struggling to gain closure.

"In that search 13 years ago, it seemed like he just did not want to be found," the 36-year-old Te Puke man said.

"They searched the area but no body was found, just a lot of clothing was found."

Lester Roberts could not comment on if or why his father would fake his own death, but said he wanted his father to come forward.

Lester Roberts has four children, aged 18, 13, 12 and three, who he said never got to know their grandfather.

He said his eldest son had met his grandfather but would probably not remember him.

Lester Roberts said the last time he saw his father was 13 years ago. He could not remember the last thing he had said to him.

Through tears, Mr Roberts described his father as a "staunch old fella" but very family orientated.

"He was a loving father."

Brian Worth and Conrad Carroll say they had seen Mr Roberts in separate incidents since his apparent death in 2004.

Mr Worth was at Bayfair Shopping Centre in Tauranga five years ago when he saw Mr Roberts talking with a group of people.

Conrad Carroll, said he had seen the missing father about two years ago working in overalls on the side of the road in Ellerslie.

In light of the sightings, Lester Roberts said his only priority was to be with his family.

Lester Roberts said his father's disappearance had been traumatic.

"I just closed off and just carried on with our lives and keeping my children happy," he said.