Rescuers are walking out of the Tararua ranges with a man forced to spend a night in the open after a search for his dog.
Police say the 22-year-old from Upper Hutt walked into the area on Thursday to look for a dog he lost near the headwaters of the Atiwhakatu River last weekend.
He was not equipped for an overnight stay in an alpine environment and there is heavy snow in the area.
Senior Constable Tony Matheson said the man told police he found what he thought were dog tracks in the snow and tried to make his way down a gully, but got stuck and was forced to spend the night in the bush.
Mr Matheson said it was too windy to get a helicopter in, so the group is walking out.
The man was not able to find his dog.