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Remains found in Kaingaroa Forest confirmed as missing man Lofty Maki

Lofty Maki.
Lofty Maki Photo: Police / Supplied

A man whose disappearance sparked a major search late last year has been found dead.

Lofty Maki, 63, was reported missing in early December 2022. He was last seen at about 5.30pm on 6 December at a Pak'nSave supermarket in Rotorua.

He drove home towards Murupara, but what happened after that is not clear. His car - a white Suzuki Grand Vitara - was last detected by cameras at 1.56am on 7 December heading south towards Napier, police said. Seven minutes later, it was spotted heading back towards Taupō.

That was the last time there was any trace of him until Monday, when police announced human remains found by hunters in Kaingaroa Forest in April belonged to Maki.

"DNA testing involving Mr Maki's close relatives took three months to return a result, finally establishing that the deceased person was Mr Maki," police said in a statement.

"Police offer their condolences to Mr Maki's whānau."

Maki may have been in the early stages of dementia, police said in February.

The case was referred to the coroner.