Three teenagers who were reported missing stayed at the house of a local school student before catching a bus back to Tauranga.
Rhianna Whiteman, also known as Toby, Jade Jenkins-Rushton also known as Axl/Axel and Arial Salmon, 13, went missing before school last Monday.
Stacy Whiteman, father of one of the teenagers, told the Times police were contacted about their disappearance on Monday morning and missing persons reports were filed.
The trio was thought to be heading to school but were seen asking about transport to Auckland at a bus stop.
After taking a bus to Auckland, they apparently spent Monday night at the house of a Macleans College student, Whiteman says.
The families of the missing teenagers reached out on social media and to media in an attempt to locate them.
It was theorised they were headed to east Auckland as they had friends there, Whiteman told the NZ Herald.
A local on social media reported seeing them on Tuesday morning heading past the turf towards Macleans College with their friend.
This information was passed on to the police.
Macleans College principal Steven Hargreaves says the three “were briefly outside school by our bus bay on Tuesday morning”.
“They were spoken to by a teacher who enquired about their situation. Few details were forthcoming but the girls were no problem.
“The girls then got into a taxi they had ordered and left around the time school started.”
The trio bussed back to Tauranga on Tuesday and spent the night at one of the other children’s houses, Whiteman says.
They were safely found on Wednesday afternoon.
Police confirmed the teenagers were located “safe and well”.
“They had been planning it on social media,” Whiteman says.
Mum Sharon Whiteman told media that they were “so relieved to have them home”.
The parents thanked the public for their help.