The search for a man missing in the Tararua Range has been scaled back this afternoon due to deteriorating weather conditions.

The 49-year-old British tourist failed to arrive at Mt Holdsworth, near Masterton, on Saturday.

His partner raised the alarm when he didn't return home.

Around 50 people - including police, New Zealand Defence Force staff, and LandSAR volunteers continued the search again today.

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Around 50 people, including police, Defence Force personnel and search and rescue volunteers, were due to scour the area between Arete Bivvy and Tarn Ridge Hut on Mt Holdsworth today. Photo / File
Around 50 people, including police, Defence Force personnel and search and rescue volunteers, were due to scour the area between Arete Bivvy and Tarn Ridge Hut on Mt Holdsworth today. Photo / File

A similar number of people, in 12 search teams, scoured the area yesterday, with a local helicopter also joining the search operation.

Today's search will focus on the area between Arete Bivvy and Tarn Ridge Hut on Mt Holdsworth.

Concern for the man remains high due to recent weather conditions, police said in a statement this morning.

However, this afternoon Sergeant Anthony Harmer, the officer in charge of search and rescue Wellington district, said the search had been scaled back for the day because of worsening weather conditions.

"This will be continually assessed throughout the afternoon, and any opportunities for further search deployments will be considered," he said in a statement.

Conditions are forecast to remain poor over the coming days, but search teams will continue to be deployed when it is safe and as the weather allows, he said.

Last night, police said they managed to cover a significant area during the search yesterday, but had unfortunately not made any progress.

The man was on a hike from Levin to Masterton over the Northern Crossing of Tararua Range. He was carrying a cellphone, and the last contact was a text to his partner on Thursday morning, police told media yesterday.

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A birds-eye view of the Tararua Range. Photo / File
A birds-eye view of the Tararua Range. Photo / File

His hike coincides with temperatures dropping across the country and some wild, wintry weather over the weekend, with hail, snow and rain in some places.

The search for the British man 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 on Sunday. She was found in a gully on the Mt Robert Ridge.