An extensive search failed to locate an 89-year-old Whangarei man who went missing from his home.

Christopher Kapa was last seen about 5pm on Thursday at his Onerahi home.

Six officers from the police Search and Rescue team, five Land SAR volunteers and Mr Kapa's family started searching for him about 1.30pm yesterday but failed to find him by nightfall.

Police say Kapa was hard of hearing and could appear to be confused.

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Search co-ordinator Sergeant Craig Burrows said by 4.45pm yesterday, those searching had cleared the Waimahanga Track and the mangrove area off Beach Rd.

He said the search focus moved closer to Mr Kapa's home, including door knocking residents in the area.

"We make everyone we come across aware of the situation and also show them his photos. We're also calling more Land SAR people," he said.

Mr Kapa was wearing grey trackpants and a white and black top.

Mr Burrows said police have fears for his safety, considering the amount of time he had been missing.

He said rescuers would keep going as long as they could after dark last night.

Anyone who could help police or may have seen Kapa was asked to contact police immediately.