Mother of children who went missing near Marokopa last year appealing for help after father disappears with them again

A mother whose three children were missing in dense bush near Marokopa last year is appealing for public help to find them again after their father failed to turn up to court on Wednesday.

Tom Phillips and his children haven't been seen for 34 days - the second time in four months they've not been in contact.

He was due to appear in the Te Kuiti District Court on a charge of causing wasteful deployment of police personnel and resources after sparking a major search last September at Marokopa.

"My babies are missing and there's no trace of them, this time it's been way longer and it's more of a worry. His truck hasn't even been sighted," says Phillips' ex-wife.

Phillips' truck last time was found swamped on remote Kiritehere Beach. Hundreds of volunteers swung into action searching sea and land for Phillips and the children, now eight, seven and five.

Almost three weeks later he walked back in the door of his parents' Marokopa farm, where he'd had day-to-day care of the children for three years. He was charged by Police.

He hasn't been seen since December 10, and his ex-wife is appealing for information.

"I want people to keep an eye out, you know, they've been missing 34 days. Any pig hunters out there, anyone, if they see any sign of them please let us know."

She says: "There is nothing to lead us to them - they could be anywhere, even in the South Island."

Police say they are now assessing the available courses of action to ensure Phillips does appear before the courts at the earliest opportunity.

Officers continue to regularly engage with Phillips' family, the children's maternal family, and others working with them.

Phillips is described as a good dad and a savvy outdoorsman, but a warrant is now out for his arrest.

"We just want our babies back and to know they are safe. It's been really hot lately, if he's just feeding them on meat - you can do that for so long but not kids you know, they need vegetables."

Next week five-year-old Ember will turn six. Her mother hopes they'll all return home in time for a birthday celebration.