The Tongariro Alpine Crossing trail has been closed until Saturday after the death of a tramper.

The Department of Conservation tonight announced a rāhui had been placed on the track which would be in place until sunrise on Saturday.

The body of a 53-year-old man was found on Mount Tongariro this morning.

Four men set out at 8am yesterday to hike over the Tongariro Alpine Crossing from Ketetahi to Mangatepopo, police said.

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The group stayed together until the bush edge below Ketetahi Hut, where three of the men continued without the missing man.

Police were notified the man was missing by his wife when he did not return to his vehicle around 5pm.

The search continued until after midnight in blizzard conditions, without success, and reconvened at 7am today.

His body was found by searchers this morning and there was a karakia on Mangatepopo Rd this afternoon.

A rāhui sets a temporary prohibition around the area where someone has died and limits access for that period.

The Department of Conservation explained it acknowledged the death and was a way to express sympathy to the whānau of the deceased; it ensured that safety mechanisms were in place; and provided time for tapu (sacredness) to dissipate following the death.