Man charged with murder after body found in Northland forest

The red marker shows the location of Waipoua Forest in Northland.
The red marker shows the location of Waipoua Forest in Northland. Photo credit: Google Maps

A 65-year-old man has been arrested and charged with murder after a body was found in Waipoua Forest, Northland.

The body is believed to be that of Northland woman Gaelene Bright, Northland field crime manager Acting Detective Inspector Kevan Verry said.

Bright was last spoken to at her home address in the early hours of May 1.

"A scene guard is currently in place in the area and Police will not be in a position to release any further details of the victim until formal identification takes place," Det Insp Verry said.

Over the last five days, a large search operation was conducted in the Waimamaku region and Waipoua Forest, which has involved police investigators, police dogs, and civilian search and rescue teams, Det Insp Verry said. The body was found in the forest on Tuesday afternoon near State Highway 12 in Waimamaku.

The scene examination is continuing and is expected to take some time. Police are also currently conducting a scene investigation at the victim's home.

The 65-year-old was found and interviewed by police on Tuesday afternoon and he was since charged with murder. 

He will appear in the Hastings District Court on May 19.

Police aren't looking for anyone else in relation to this matter, they said.

Det Insp Verry said this is a tragic situation.

"Our thoughts and condolences are with Ms Bright's family during this extremely difficult time."

Police are still making enquiries into the movements of Bright's car, a white 2000 Holden Rodeo 4x4 with the registration number YW7634, between Northland and Te Kuiti on May 3 and 4.

Anyone who has seen this vehicle or has any information regarding it is asked to call police on 105 quoting file number 220511/2799 or Operation Bright.

Information can also be passed on anonymously via Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.

Police said they are unable to provide further information at this time as the matter is before the courts.