A second day of searches has failed to locate a 49-year-old British man missing in the Tararua Ranges.

The search resumed around 7am today after the man was due to finish the tramp through the Northern Crossing at noon on Saturday, but failed to arrive at Mt Holdsworth near Masterton.

His partner contacted police when he failed to return home.

Around 50 people in total, in 12 search teams, scoured the area today - including personnel from the New Zealand Defence Force, volunteers from LandSAR and a local helicopter.

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A Police statement this evening said that while they managed to cover a significant area, unfortunately there had been no progress in finding the man.

A Royal New Zealand Air Force NH90 helicopter is helping search for a 49-year-old man who has failed to return from a tramping trip to the Tararua Ranges. Photo / File
A Royal New Zealand Air Force NH90 helicopter is helping search for a 49-year-old man who has failed to return from a tramping trip to the Tararua Ranges. Photo / File

"Teams are in the process of winding down for the night and are expect to resume around 7am tomorrow," the statement said.

Sergeant Tony Matheson said the man left to hike from Levin to Masterton over the Tararua Ranges.

Matheson told Stuff one of the rescue teams had found footprints in the general area the man could be.

He was carrying a cellphone, and the last contact was a text to his partner on Thursday morning, Matheson told Stuff.

"You'd expect he would have made contact so, at this stage, we do have severe concerns for him."

The man's overnight stay in the ranges would have been a chilly one, with wind chill temperatures dropping to -10C.

Metservice meteorologist Kyle Lee said for much of yesterday and last night, it was pretty wet and windy in the area.

"We had gales about the tops for the overnight period, so it was pretty strong in the exposed areas - as well as snow expected down to the 900m mark.

"That all continued through the night, and eased up in the early hours of this morning as the sun came up.

"The overnight period is pretty cold. A couple of the stations up there did freeze so they stopped reporting, while some of the huts in the upper regions got down to -1C, with a wind-chill factor of -10C."

Lee said the forecast tonight is for cloud and some isolated showers.

Police search and rescue teams completed a search of huts in the area as well as an initial aerial search yesterday.

The search comes after a woman caught in a blizzard while tramping in Nelson Lakes National Park died from severe hypothermia after battling the extreme conditions on Saturday night.

The family member she was tramping with made it to Angelus Hut during the night to raise the alarm after they were unable to get cellphone reception.

But the 55-year-old woman spent the night exposed to the elements, battling a -16C chill and blustery 80km/h winds.

The woman had died by the time the Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter reached her at 9am yesterday. She was found in a gully on the Mt Robert Ridge.