Locals in the area where a 9-year-old boy disappeared 62 years ago say the boy's ghost is still being seen.

Rato Clayton, who lives on the farm in the Waioeka Gorge where 9-year-old Peter Boland disappeared in 1957, said she had often been woken up by someone touching her and hugging her at night.

Her niece Sian Nightingale, 38, said she saw Peter's ghost on the steps below a chalet on the farm about 15 years ago.

Clayton said she had been told that truck drivers travelling through the gorge between Gisborne and Ōpōtiki often saw a child walking by the road at night.

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A man who lived in a cottage on the farm for many years also told her that Peter's ghost "would regularly visit the cottage". The man told the Herald he would "neither confirm nor deny" the story because he did not trust the media.

Police have told the Herald that they have reopened an investigation into Peter Boland's disappearance because they received new information late last year after Television New Zealand screened a Sensing Murder episode about the case in 2017.

Nightingale, who was about 25 when she saw Peter's ghost on the farm, said she hoped the new investigation would finally resolve what happened when the boy disappeared.

She said she was walking from the cottage, which is about 100 metres below the main house, when she saw a boy sitting on the steps of a chalet on the property.

Sian Nightingale saw what she believes was the ghost of Peter Boland sitting on the steps of this chalet on her uncle's farm in the Waioeka Gorge. Photo / Supplied
Sian Nightingale saw what she believes was the ghost of Peter Boland sitting on the steps of this chalet on her uncle's farm in the Waioeka Gorge. Photo / Supplied

"I just saw him through the corner of my eye. He was just sitting on the steps. He sort of had his head in his hands and he looked sad," she said.

She thought a family must have been staying in the chalet and the boy must have come outside because he was upset about something.

"I said, 'Oh, hello.' He said, 'Hi,'" she said.

"Then I walked in [to the main house] and said to Aunty Rato, 'Who's here?'"

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Clayton said she told her niece that no one was staying in the chalet. She went out with Nightingale to look for the boy, but couldn't see anyone.

Nightingale said they thought at first she had seen a real child because he seemed so real.

Peter Boland was 9 when he disappeared in August 1957. Photo / Supplied by Gavin Boland
Peter Boland was 9 when he disappeared in August 1957. Photo / Supplied by Gavin Boland

"I'm a mother. He looked lost to me," she said.

"We tried to look for him, there was a bit of a panic - 'Oh my gosh, where is he?'

"We were calling out. She [her aunt] was like, there's no one here. I was like, no, I saw a little boy, there's someone lost here."

Nightingale has now seen photographs of Peter Boland and believes the boy she saw was "the same boy".

"He was wearing what looked like a uniform. He wasn't wearing normal clothes," she said.

"I know they said he didn't have many clothes with him. He was not wearing what I thought would be typical clothes. It was like a little polo shirt type of thing and shorts."

The area known as
The area known as "Tawa Flats" near the tiny outpost of Oponae where Peter Boland disappeared in 1957. Photo / Alan Gibson

She said she has also sensed a spiritual presence at other times on the farm.

"Riding the horses through there a couple of times we have thought we saw something, and then you kind of look again and it's not a really clear visual. You kind of think what's that, then you look again and it's not there."

Sian Nightingale saw what she believes was the ghost of 9-year-old Peter Boland, who went missing near Ōpōtiki in 1957. Photo / Supplied
Sian Nightingale saw what she believes was the ghost of 9-year-old Peter Boland, who went missing near Ōpōtiki in 1957. Photo / Supplied

Clayton said Nightingale was not the only person who had seen the boy.

"A man who used to live in our cottage said that little boy would regularly visit the cottage," she said.

"We had a truck driver living in our chalet. He said, 'Your chalets are haunted, someone keeps turning the lights on and off.' There have been lots of people tell me that place has got a spirit flowing around."

She has never seen the ghost herself but has felt a presence.

"I've heard footsteps. I've felt something touch me," she said. "I've often been woken up by something touching me or hugging me."

Searchers at Oponae Station, near Ōpōtiki, taking a break from looking for 9-year-old Peter Boland in 1957. Photo / Brian Burgess
Searchers at Oponae Station, near Ōpōtiki, taking a break from looking for 9-year-old Peter Boland in 1957. Photo / Brian Burgess

Last year a young man whose father drives trucks through the gorge told her his father had seen the boy at night.

"When he drives a truck he comes across a boy walking around. He is sometimes driving on the road at 3 in the morning and he comes across the boy," she said.

"Apparently a lot of truck drivers have seen this spirit running up and down on the side of the road."

However, Clayton, a devout Seventh Day Adventist, believes the ghost is not really Peter Boland but a demon pretending to be the boy.

"The Bible says that if people are dead they are dead," she said.

"I believe it was a demonic spirit because the dead know nothing, they are asleep. The Bible talks about demons being hurled out of heaven, there are lots of them.

"So I just told it to get lost in Jesus's name."

Rato Clayton asked God to keep demonic spirits away when clairvoyant Deb Webber (pictured) visited the Waioeka Gorge for TVNZ's
Rato Clayton asked God to keep demonic spirits away when clairvoyant Deb Webber (pictured) visited the Waioeka Gorge for TVNZ's "Sensing Murder" programme in 2017. Photo / TVNZ

She believes the clairvoyants in the Sensing Murder programme are tapping into "demonic powers", and she tried to block them.

"When I heard they were coming I asked the Lord for protection over my property. I didn't want them bringing anything here because I don't believe their powers are from God. I believe Satan talks to them and that's how they see things," she said.

"I rang up the pastor and said, 'Can you pray for our place?' And that's why they couldn't sense anything because there was nothing around."