Family, including four kids, located 'safe and well' after not returning from fishing trip east of Auckland

A missing family of five have been located "safe and well" after they failed to return from a fishing trip in the east Auckland region on Saturday. 

"Police are very pleased to report that a family reported overdue from a fishing trip in Kawakawa Bay have been located safe and well," says a statement. "Police received reports just after 9am today that members of the public had sighted a boat matching the description of the missing boat, heading towards Matingarahi Point. 

"Coastguard vessel Trillian Trust has since located the boat and confirmed it is the missing boat. All on board are safe and well."

The father, Pai Samisi, who was with the kids overnight says the "four children are safe and happy."

"We had a tent, we were warm," he says. "The battery went on my phone."

They'd been out in the Firth of Thames more than 30 hours and became the focus of an all-night search.

"You have to be strong, be cool to know what to do."

The family left Kawakawa Bay at 3:30am on Saturday with lifejackets, blankets, food, and even a tent. The family was due to meet another family member onboard another boat at the Waikawau Bay mussel farm to go fishing, but that rendezvous never happened and the person didn't raise the alarm until late on Saturday night.

Coastguard Rescue vessel volunteer Skipper Paul Field says it's all about communication.

"Let someone know, because the sooner we are notified we can get things rolling to go and help," he says.

"Their cellphone had run flat, they were having some difficulties with their handheld VHF as well. They were oblivious to it. They had plenty of warm gear on, which is fantastic."

Police say the boat is currently being escorted to Kawakawa Bay by CoastGuard.

Family, including four kids, located 'safe and well' after not returning from fishing trip east of Auckland
Photo credit: Image - Newshub

Emergency services were notified of the family's disappearance at 9:35pm on Saturday evening after they failed to return from their fishing trip in Kawakawa Bay, located in the Franklin area in Auckland. The family included one adult and four children aged between 7 and 11 years old.

The extensive search involved police maritime units, Coastguard and shoreline searches.