Two men who are believed to have fled police and abandoned a stolen car off the central North Island's Desert Road have now rung police to say they are lost in the Kaimanawa Forest.
A helicopter, searchers and a dog team have been looking for the two men, and police now have serious concerns for their welfare.
Police believe the two men, aged in their 20s, are the same pair driving a stolen car officers tried to stop on Saturday before they sped off along State Highway 1.
The car was eventually abandoned on a track off Tree Trunk Gorge Rd and the men ran off.
"On Sunday morning, based on information provided by family members and a subsequent 111 call from one of the offenders, it was clear the two had become lost in the bush," Inspector Kevin Taylor said in a statement on Monday.
One of the men only had 2 percent phone battery left and police have only been able to obtain minimal location details.
"Police are now seriously concerned for their welfare considering their lack of experience in the bush and inappropriate clothing they have on them," Insp Taylor said.
Conditions overnight have been very cold and wet and it was likely both would be suffering from hypothermia, he said.