Hopes are fading for a British backpacker who vanished a week ago on the trip of a lifetime.

Grace Millane came to New Zealand because, like so many young people, she wanted to see the world.

Now, almost seven days after she was last seen entering a downtown Auckland hotel with a man, police say they have "grave fears" for her safety and are searching for clues in a room at the hotel.

Her distraught father — who flew into Auckland early yesterday — fought back tears as he pleaded for anyone with information to come forward.


More than two dozen police officers have been investigating the 22-year-old's disappearance since she was reported missing four days ago and those investigations have now included questioning the man with Millane when she was last seen.

Detective Inspector Scott Beard told media yesterday that sighting was on CCTV at the CityLife Hotel on Queen St at 9.41pm on December 1.

"At present we have spoken to a person and we still have no evidence of foul play."

Detective Inspector Scott Beard said police are speaking to a
Detective Inspector Scott Beard said police are speaking to a "person of interest" about the disappearance of Grace Millane. Photo / Doug Sherring

He wouldn't be drawn on whether Millane knew the man before their meeting at CityLife and, in response to questions, described the man as a "person of interest".

An apartment at the hotel was also being treated as a place of interest, he said.

A scene examination was taking place yesterday and a reporter outside the hotel saw two police cars outside, a police officer in the lobby and a black helicopter hovering above yesterday afternoon.

The hotel manager, another staff member and residents spoken to by the Weekend Herald said they didn't know anything.

Beard said yesterday he understood there would be "lots of questions" about what police were doing at CityLife Hotel, but because the investigation was ongoing he wasn't immediately able to say more.

Grace Millane hasn't been seen since December 1. Photo / Supplied via Facebook
Grace Millane hasn't been seen since December 1. Photo / Supplied via Facebook

He "couldn't speculate" whether, if Millane had left the hotel, she would have been seen on CCTV, but said footage would continue to be examined this weekend. CCTV footage also showed her leaving Andy's Burgers & Bar, on the first level of Sky City, at 7.15pm on the same day.

After hearing of her disappearance, staff at Andy's Burgers put the news out on a work online chat to check if anyone recalled seeing her - to no avail.

Police have previously refused to comment on Millane's bank account or cellphone activity.

But Beard did say yesterday the investigation into the young woman's disappearance was progressing rapidly. It is believed she had two cellphones, one English and one New Zealand, but Beard said there could be more.

"As part of our investigation we have reviewed hours and hours of CCTV footage and this will continue throughout the weekend."

Millane was a much-loved daughter, sister and friend, he said.

"It has now been six days since Grace was last seen. At this point, we hold grave fears for her safety."

The advertising and marketing graduate from Essex has been the subject of a desperate social media campaign by worried friends and family since her daily contact with family stopped the day before her 22nd birthday on Sunday.

David Millane fought back tears as he spoke to media about his missing daughter, Grace Millane. Photo / Doug Sherring
David Millane fought back tears as he spoke to media about his missing daughter, Grace Millane. Photo / Doug Sherring

That culminated in her father David Millane, a millionaire property developer, flying 18,000km to be in the city where his daughter was last seen.

Close to tears, he spoke to media in Auckland yesterday to plead for anyone who knew anything to contact police — no detail was too small, he said.

"Grace is a lovely, outgoing, fun-loving, family-orientated daughter. Grace has never been out of contact for this amount of time and is usually in daily contact with either her mother, myself or her two brothers ... we are all extremely upset and it is very difficult at this time to fully describe the range of emotions we are all going through."

His voice at times breaking, the 60-year-old also spoke about the planned year-long solo "worldwide overseas experience" his daughter had started in South America six weeks ago and continued — much to her excitement — in New Zealand.

The talented artist — Millane had exhibited in the London Mall Student exhibition and sold a number of paintings to fund her adventures — travelled around the upper North Island, including to Cape Reinga, after arriving in New Zealand.

Back in Auckland, she was booked into Base Backpackers, where her belongings remained after her disappearance.

That second leg of her trip, in a country so familiar and yet so far from her own, had been much anticipated.

"[She] was really looking forward to the second leg in New Zealand," her father said, his voice choked with emotion.

"She arrived here on the 20th of November and has bombarded us with numerous photographs and messages of her adventures."

Anyone with information on the disappearance of Grace Millane can contact police on 0800 676 255.