It has now been 8848 days since Amber-Lee Cruickshank was last seen.

The 2-and-a-half-year-old disappeared 25 years ago from Kingston, a small town on the shore of Lake Wakatipu.

Despite exhaustive and repeated searches, there has never been any sign of the little girl.

Last year The Herald senior crime and justice reporter Anna Leask investigated the famous cold case in a bid to generate some answers for the toddler's family.


• READ MORE: Chasing Ghosts - The baffling disappearance of Amber-Lee

In October, to mark the 25th anniversary, the Herald released a six-part podcast series called Chasing Ghosts - the disappearance of Amber-Lee.

It was our first serialised true crime podcast and was supported by a news feature and mini-documentary about the case by video journalist Mike Scott.

This week we are publishing the full transcript from the original Chasing Ghosts podcast - more than 24,000 words - in a bid to give this case more publicity.

Ultimately, we want to bring Amber-Lee home.

Chasing Ghosts was researched and written by senior crime reporter Anna Leask.

Visual journalist Mike Scott did the field recording and produced the mini-documentary.

You can listen to the six-part series by clicking on the audio files below.

Alternatively you can listen on, iHeartRadio or download the episodes via iTunes.

In producing the podcast, Leask and Scott had unprecedented access to work with Amber-Lee's mother Nicola Cruickshank, and others closely connected to the case, including both police officers who have led the investigation.

They also spoke, for the first time, with the people considered of interest to police.

Chasing Ghosts tells Amber-Lee's story in unflinching detail.

The podcast reached number one on iTunes the same day it was released, and has remained on the most popular list since.

Leask hoped that shining a light on to the case would result in someone coming forward with crucial information that could help find Amber-Lee

"At the very least, I wanted to make sure everyone knows about Amber-Lee and what happened to her," she said.

"I also want to dispel some of the myths around the case and hopefully encourage the people with answers to come forward.

"If we can bring Amber-Lee home it would mean so much to her family, who have been desperately seeking answers for a quarter of a century."

Since the podcast was released police have had a number of people contact them offering information about the case.

Detective Sergeant John Kean said he was working through that information and urged anyone else who might be able to help to come forward.

Nicola Cruickshank was hopeful that the renewed coverage of her daughter's disappearance would finally bring her some answers.

"It's something I've lived through for the last 25 years, day in, day out always wondering what went wrong that day," she said.

"I want answers.

"By some miracle, someone 25 years ago may go 'hey I remember that case and I remember da da da' and that could be that little bit of evidence crucial to finding the whereabouts of where Amber is."

Nicola Cruickshank on the shores of Lake Wakatipu near where her daughter was last seen on October 17 1992. New Zealand Herald photograph by Mike Scott
Nicola Cruickshank on the shores of Lake Wakatipu near where her daughter was last seen on October 17 1992. New Zealand Herald photograph by Mike Scott

She vowed to keep searching for answers until her "dying breath".

"I'm not going to stop looking, not until the day I get some answers or she comes home," she said. "I'm never going to stop. It's all about Amber-Lee."

The transcript for episode one of Chasing Ghosts will be published in the Herald tomorrow, and on

The remaining episodes will run daily for the rest of the week.

Help bring Amber-Lee home

If you know what happened to Amber-Lee, or have information you have never shared with police that could help the investigation - please come forward.

Contact Detective Sergeant John Kean at the Invercargill police on 021 191 5321 or email

To pass on information anonymously, contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or fill out their online form here.

This service is completely confidential and you do not have to reveal your identity. Police have no way of tracing who passes on tips to Crimestoppers.

You can also email


• iHeart Radio
• iTunes