Police say they have confirmed a sighting of the 11-year-old Invercargill boy who is believed to have been taken from school by his estranged stepfather.
Michael Zhao-Beckenridge was not at school when his mother went to pick him up last Friday and is believed to be with his 64-year-old stepfather, John Beckenridge who is in breach of a parenting order.
Detective Sergeant Mark McCloy said police have a confirmed sighting of Michael in a remote bush setting in the Catlins area on Monday.
Mr McCloy said a farmer saw a young child in a vehicle who fit Michael's description.
He said a scene examination revealed a number of empty food packets which showed the two were possibly living out of their car at that point.
He said the pair appeared to be living rough and the police were concerned about their welfare.
Police called for Mr Beckenridge or Michael to contact the nearest police station.
Mr McCloy said Mr Beckenridge may have grievances about a Family Court decision, but was now in breach of a parenting order.
Mr Beckenridge is about 1.75 metres tall and of Swedish descent, and the 11-year-old is of Asian descent with a solid build.