Police renew appeals for missing Waikato man Tom Phillips and his 3 children

Police have renewed their appeals for a missing Waikato man to bring his three young children out of the bush ahead of winter. 

Tom Phillips gained national attention last year, when he and his three kids - Jayda, eight; Maverick, seven; and Ember, now 6 - were reported missing after his ute was discovered abandoned on a beach near Marokopa. 

Phillips reappeared two weeks later, and was charged with causing a wasteful deployment of police resources. 

He went back into the bush with the children mid-December according to his family and ex-wife, and failed to appear in court in January. 

Waikato West Inspector William Loughrin is calling on him to bring the kids home before winter sets in.

Speaking on Aotearoa Ten 7 Thursday night, Insp Loughrin addressed Phillips directly, as well as anyone in the community who knows where he is.

“Tom, it's really important that you reach out and contact us. We understand that there are a number of complexities and dynamics involved. However, the children haven’t been able to see their grandparents, their mother or their extended family for some time."

Police strongly believe he is getting assistance - and are urging that person to come forward. 

Newshub understands from locals Tom Phillips came home for one night in February to his parents' Marokopa farm, but was gone by morning.

It's understood he may be using a motorbike or four-wheeler to get around. 

After last year's initial disappearance, Insp Loughrin said the family had been living in a tent in a dense bush area.

Phillips was an experienced bushman and was able to look after himself.

Insp Will Loughrin says the family are “really missing Tom and the kids".

"They’re really upset about the situation, they just want the family home."