The two trampers missing in the Kahurangi National Park have been found alive.

Dion Reynolds and Jessica O'Connor, 23, went tramping in the Kahurangi National Park 18 days ago but failed to return when expected.

A St John spokeswoman said both only had minor injuries but an ambulance had met a helicopter to take them to Nelson Hospital.

A Nelson Hospital spokeswoman said both patients were in a stable condition.

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Reynold's work colleagues at Takaka's Roots Bar are overjoyed with the news. Owner Holly Osmond says the work group is over the moon about the amazing outcome.

Osmond and her chef Jose couldn't help themselves and had a shot of rum to celebrate the discovery.

Reynolds worked in the kitchen at Roots Bar over the summer and O'Connor worked at worked at Abel Tasman Kayaks.

Sightings of the pair before they set off on May 9 near the Anatori River suggested they were well-prepared for their trip, which was due to end on May 14.

Their parents and O'Connor's colleagues at Abel Tasman Kayaks were hopeful, saying O'Connor knew the area well and both were experienced in the outdoors.

The pair were due back from Kahurangi National Park on May 14 but have only just been found. Photo / 123rf
The pair were due back from Kahurangi National Park on May 14 but have only just been found. Photo / 123rf

Staff at Abel Tasman Kayaks were excited at the news but the owner was unavailable for comment.

A large scale search effort for the pair included search teams aided by a dog and use of drones to create a heat map of the entire valley system.

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Nelson Bays Area Commander Detective Inspector Paul Borrell told Stuff the pair "seemed to be in reasonably good health".

They were reportedly found just before 1pm.

Search team never gave up hope

Searching for the pair started last Tuesday, with good weather on the first few days. But over the weekend heavy rain had hampered the search, reducing the odds of the pair being found alive and well.

A Royal NZ Air Force NH90 helicopter has been helping search efforts over the past few days.

It was back there this morning, with the RNZAF sharing a photo of a crew of three on board - as well as a search dog all geared up and ready in a bright red vest.

The search for the pair resumed at first light this morning, police said.

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Royal New Zealand Airforce NH90 helicopter and crew helped searching for missing trampers Jessica O'Connor and Dion Reynolds. Photo / supplied
Royal New Zealand Airforce NH90 helicopter and crew helped searching for missing trampers Jessica O'Connor and Dion Reynolds. Photo / supplied

Sergeant Malcolm York said the defence force was flying six teams into the area.

Today's search was to be centred around the Anatori River and the coastline, he said.

LandSAR NZ chief executive Carl McOnie said this morning that its team of volunteers were very skilled and was holding out hope of finding the pair.

"You never lose hope and you always have hope."

Dramatic rescue from Kahurangi

In 1980, Palmerston North tramper Peter Le Fleming, 21, was lost for 30 days after injuring himself while walking the Heaphy Track in the Kahurangi National Park.

Tramper Tony Brunt recalled the dramatic rescue to the Herald in 2010 saying rescuers had all but given up on finding him alive.

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"As Le Fleming lay starving and close to death, a Christchurch police inspector decided to authorise a final helicopter search.

It was that decision that saved Le Fleming's life. The tramper had spent three days and nights, lapsing in and out of consciousness, too weak to crawl to water a metre or two away.

"As the rescue chopper dropped low over Burgoo Stream, where Le Fleming had collapsed on a boulder, rescuers spotted what they thought was a dead body. But the near-dead tramper managed to move his hand, a gesture which caused a whoop of delight inside the chopper.

"His rescue, after so long without food lost in the wilds north west of Nelson, was deemed a miracle."

Brunt said Le Fleming's toes were swollen and black, "his hands drawn back like claws in a Halloween costume".

Brunt had shared food with Le Fleming a month earlier in the Gouland Downs Hut.

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"I was the first of our party of five to arrive at the hut on the night of January 19, 1980. Le Fleming was already there, eating a Weet Bix biscuit smeared with Marmite. I queried his spartan diet and he told me that he had run out of food. 'But that's okay,'' he added, 'I'm heading out tomorrow.'

"At dinner time our group ate well on bread, soup and stew. With portions left over, I quietly consulted my mates and they agreed to share the food with our lone companion. He accepted our offer eagerly. That meal would later become significant to Le Fleming's survival.

"Weeks later, back in Wellington, I read about the search for a tramper missing on the Heaphy. I didn't connect the search with Le Fleming until the police phoned me to ask about the missing man. I gave them the vital piece of information they were seeking — Le Fleming had no food with him."