Police appeal for information on missing Wānaka resident

The search area for tramper Stephanie Simpson covers Fantails Falls (pictured) to Mount Brewster, the Brewster Hut and Mount Armstrong Track, and the Makarora Valley | Image from DoC

A British tramper living in Wānaka was reported missing at 8:45am on Monday, February 10, after she failed to arrive at her landscaping job at Doug the Wānaka Gardener. 

Thirty-two-year-old Stephanie Simpson was tramping in the Mount Aspiring National park over the weekend and is believed to have gone missing from the Cameron Flat area. New Zealand Police, who have been conducting helicopter searches alongside the Fox Glacier Alpine Cliff Rescue team, a search dog and Wānaka LandSAR volunteers, have stated that “the search area encompasses Fantail Falls to Mount Brewster, the Brewster Hut and Mount Armstrong track, and also Makarora Valley.” Search teams remained out in the area over Tuesday night and drones with thermal imaging were deployed on Wednesday morning.

Kate Bambury from the UK told the Wānaka Sun, “Steph is one of my closest friends and we are desperate to find her safe and well.”

Back in the UK, her sister, Natalie Hazelton, told the Wānaka Sun, “we are so grateful for all the help and support we have received from the Police, search and rescue teams, civilians, friends and work colleagues, who are continuing to search for my beautiful sister Stephanie. We can’t thank them enough for all the work they are doing. If anyone has even the smallest piece of information that may lead to her safe return, please, please share it with the police.”

Anyone who may have seen or spoken to missing British tramper Stephanie Simpson in the Makarora area over the weekend is urged to contact police. 

They have asked that “if anyone was on the track over the weekend who stayed in the Cameron Flat area on Friday and may have spoken to Stephanie, or anyone who may have seen her on the track from Fantail Falls to Mount Armstrong, or in Makarora Valley, please let Police know on 105 and quote file 200211/4896.”

Her disappearance comes after heavy rainfall and flooding in the area last week, and the tragic deaths of two trampers, whose bodies were found by police in the Makarora River last Friday and Saturday. 


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