Over 150 volunteers join search for missing Tauranga doctor

March 19, 2022
Volunteers search for David Holland on Papamoa Beach.

Over 150 volunteers have turned up at Pāpāmoa Beach to help the search for missing doctor David Holland, who was last heard from seven days ago.

The search around the beach’s sand dunes began at around 9am on Saturday with a briefing from police and organisers. The stretch of beach included in the search area is around 8km long.

Searchers have been instructed to look for Holland's clothing and other personal effects which may have been left on the beach.

Search organisers divided the beach area into a grid and assigned groups of searchers to each part.

Volunteers were told to start at the far ends of the beach and then work their way towards the centre.

Police instruct volunteers on how the search for Holland would proceed.

Speaking to 1News, police sergeant and search coordinator Craig Madden revealed new details about the circumstances in which Holland had disappeared without a trace.

He said Holland was last heard from in a text to his girlfriend at around 7.30pm on the Friday night he went missing. In the texts, the 31-year-old said he would be going for a swim.

David Holland.

Madden said police had then identified a figure on CCTV surveillance cameras at around 9pm heading down to Pāpāmoa Beach.

He said the footage was “a distance away” and that the person’s identity was “hard to tell” but that Holland’s girlfriend and flatmates had positively identified the figure as the 31-year-old.

Madden said it was "unusual" that Holland was fully clothed in the surveillance footage as he lived quite close to the beach.

Search and rescue coordinators organise 16 groups of volunteer searchers looking on Papamoa Beach.

Police believe Holland was last seen wearing a black jacket, striped t-shirt, long drawstring pants, size 11 shoes and holding a black tote bag.

He later failed to turn up for work which friends had told police was "out of character".

None of Holland’s personal effects or clothing has been located thus far in the search.

A crowd of volunteers turn out to search for David Holland in Papamoa.

Madden said friends and flatmates had indicated Holland had been in a “good” state of mind.

The Bay of Plenty Times has reported Holland worked as a doctor at Tauranga Hospital and has lived in the area for around four years.

Anyone with information that could assist police has been urged to call 105 and quote file number 220312/6869.


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