The granddaughter of a missing elderly Hamilton man has made a desperate plea to the public to help find the "kind hearted, gentle" 84-year-old.
Raymond Stirling was reported missing yesterday at 11am. The former Ngaruawahia butcher was last seen in Halcione Close, Flagstaff, at 8pm on Monday.
Hamilton police and LandSar crews have extended their search area, and family have also mapped out a wider search area after they and authorities had thoroughly covered ground close to Stirling's Halcione Close home, Marina Rameka told Newstalk ZB.
"We're remaining positive and we've mapped out a wider search area that search and rescue cannot completely cover. We've got already an amazing turnout from the community, who are already lining up outside with a desire to help us, which is incredible."
They were also handing out flyers for volunteers to spread around the community, with family especially keen for the information to reach bus and taxi drivers, who may have seen Stirling.
Between 50 and 100 people were already helping, but more were welcome and could come to the family's base at in the garage of 29 Halcione Close.
She wanted to thank everyone who had offered to help, Rameka said. The family's main concern as that Stirling, who is described as "slim and frail", had hurt himself.
"He has a really big family who care about him immensely. We all just want him to come home safely."
Sergeant Vince Ranger said police and Stirling's family believe he may have become confused and lost because of his mild dementia.
It is unconfirmed what Stirling was last wearing, but he was more than likely wearing blue track pants and white sneakers which had a red stripe. He should have a black walking stick with him.
"The suggestion would be that he doesn't travel very far. He's not an overly able man. He walks in quite a frail manner. Around the home he uses a zimmerframe-type apparatus.
"When he goes out he generally takes his walking stick and we know that the walking stick is not at home and the zimmerframe is.
"The walking stick is a black with a handle on top."
Stirling's daughter Julie Caddigan said he'd also be wearing a polo shirt with a zip fleece. He wasn't wearing his glasses and didn't have his hearing aids in.
An in-home support worker was the last person to see Stirling.
"We had been at the beach for a week so I dropped him off at home at 2pm on Monday afternoon. He doesn't really leave the house very much at all. The only time he leaves the house is when he gets confused like this.
"He doesn't drive and most of the time he's at home and people come in and see him, and we bring him dinner and things like that."
Caddigan said the family weren't sure if he had wandered off at night or during Tuesday morning.
"He was perfectly happy and I don't know ... it's very unusual. He has occasionally gone off for a walk but he always manages to find his way home again. He's only done it a couple of times, it's not a regular occurrence.
"We don't think he would have walked very far, but we are a little bit concerned that he may have caught a bus or hitched a ride with somebody."
She was now pleading for help from members of the Hamilton community to keep an eye out for her father.
"Just search anywhere you think he may have wandered to ... we just want any help that anybody can give us."
Several reported sightings have been discounted after inquiries were made, he said.
Ranger said police would today visit properties in the area where he was last seen and are asking residents to check their sectionsplus external buildings such as sheds and garages.
"He wears glasses, he's got a wound on the right side of his head from a small operation to cut out a cancer-type growth. That's uncovered as far as we know, it's exposed, but kind of healed. So there would be a distinctive scar on his head."
As far as the search, police are concentrating on a residential search around his house and the North Hamilton area.
"Today we will go out and start an area out as far as a kilometre from his home address ... so that's a lot of homes that we're going to be searching. It's going to take a considerable amount of time and man hours and effort from the LandSar groups to do that search."
Ranger asked members of the public to support police as they carried out their search, and allow LandSar crews on to their property.
"It's quite an intrusive search in that we're going on to people's personal spaces to search and we're seeking their support to do that.
"In addition to that, if they can also search their own property themselves so looking in, under, on top of, looking for Raymond Stirling."
Ranger said the family were "pretty distraught" about Stirling's disappearance and had been sending out and delivering flyers around the greater Hamilton area.
"Raymond in the past has made his way to shopping centres and he's an ex-butcher so he loves butcher shops so that has been a focus for the family ... particularly Ngaruawahia and Huntly where his previous working life was."
Ranger said they had so far had a "limited number" of sightings of anyone matching Stirling's description but each one they did get they were treating seriously.
"Most of the ones that we've had reported to us so far we've either eliminated or found that it is of low probability but we want those sightings coming in.
"An example of that is a sighting reported this morning of a man yesterday out at the Te Rapa Rd area, at the Fonterra milk station, and as a result of that we extended our search area just to cover off that sighting."
It was a "distinct possibility" that Stirling was given a ride somewhere however they were yet to have any come forward to say they had done that.
"I would have expected had he got into a car, with the media coverage we've had ... that it would have been reported to us. But we're just crying out for that little bit of information from the public that will lead us to a direction to search."
If anyone has seen Raymond Stirling they are asked to call 111 immediately.