Police visited Okoroire Hot Springs Hotel on night woman claimed she saw missing Marokopa dad Tom Phillips and three children

Police visited a Waikato hotel the night there was a tip off about someone matching missing Marokopa man Tom Phillips' description in the hot pools with his children.

As police intensify their hunt for the missing Marokopa father and his three children - Jayda (10), Maverick (9) and Ember (8) - a claim has been made the family was recently seen at Okoroire Hot Springs Hotel, near Tirau.

A woman told NZ Herald she informed police about seeing a man she was "90 percent sure" was Phillips around two weeks ago.

Senior staff member Sharna Ryan told Newshub police came out on June 2 after the woman contacted them but no one was in the hot pools.

Ryan said there were CCTV cameras in reception but not near the hot pools.

"Normally to pay for access to the hot pools you have to get a swipie from reception. But the chances are he broke in around the back entrance and didn't pay," said Ryan.

Newshub Waikato reporter Karen Rutherford told AM police were "everywhere" in Marokopa, with checkpoints enforced all-night long.

"They've got around 20 police officers at any one time on the ground at the checkpoints," said Rutherford.

The checkpoints have been set up as investigators wade through numerous tip-offs after an $80,000 reward was offered for information, marking a new phase in the hunt for Phillips and his three children.  

Ember, Maverick and Jayda Phillips have not been seen since December 12, 2021, when they were taken by their father to an unknown location thought to be in western Waikato within Marokopa or the surrounding areas.

Now, police have confirmed they're investigating the hot pools sighting.

"This sighting was one of the number of alleged sightings that police receive regularly," Detective Inspector Andrew Saunders told Newshub.

"All reports are assessed and followed up on by investigators as required. We continue to urge anyone with credible, current information to contact police."

The woman told the NZ Herald she rang the Crimestoppers line after seeing the suspected fugitive on June 2. She said Phillips had some facial hair and "his head was shaved but the hair that remained had been bleached".

She also claimed he had a large tattoo covering his back and that two of the children wore beanies which, when taken off, revealed haircuts that appeared to have been "done at home".

Police said there is no way Phillips and his children could have survived this long in the wild without help. 

The deadline for the $80,000 is June 25. 

Police said as well as the missing persons investigation, Phillips is wanted on separate charges in relation to aggravated robbery, aggravated wounding, and unlawful possession of a firearm.