Sue Harrison kept busy moving out of her Dinsdale house yesterday, but instead of the bright prospect of a new life in Taranaki, it was the search for her missing husband Paul that occupied her mind.
Ahead of the couple lay the excitement of a new job for Paul and a new start after their grown children had left home with friends pitching in to help in the move.
But since he left home at 7.30am on Wednesday for his last day of work at the Pukete engineering firm where he was a well-regarded employee, Mr Harrison has not been seen.
Hours later Mrs Harrison received a text message from her 48-year-old husband which read ‘I love you, sorry'.
"It was his last day on the job because we are moving to New Plymouth and he was meant to go out for drinks with his workmates at the Cock 'n' Bull after work - I didn't realise anything was wrong till later in the night," she said.
Concerned that her husband had not returned home, Mrs Harrison drove to the home of one of his Tidd Ross Todd workmates, who told her he had not shown up for work.
What was supposed to be a final evening of packing ended in a late-night trip to the police station to file a missing persons report.
Hamilton Police yesterday appealed for sightings of Mr Harrison, who drives a white 1999 Mitsubishi L200 utility vehicle, registration YC6496.
He is European, of medium build and about 1.77 metres tall, but to the army of friends who turned out to help out with the shift and support Mrs Harrison at the family home yesterday, he is simply "a bloody good guy".
Friend Paul Maisey was among them.
"He's a top bloke and a bloody good engineer," Mr Maisey said. "He's built trailers, dog kennels, you name it. He can make just about anything."
The pair ride motorbikes together. "Paul owns a Norton Commando 850 - it's his pride and joy," Mr Maisey said.
Mr Harrison was due to start a new job based in New Plymouth with engineering firm Meco, and while his friends and family said he was excited about the move, his wife said he had also "been a bit anxious".
"But this is just not like him," she said. "His bank statement shows he filled up with petrol in Ngaruawahia yesterday morning - I just hope he's gone for a drive and just kept going, I just don't know," she said.
Telecom records show Mr Harrison's phone was picked up on a Coromandel-based receiver yesterday, though Mrs Harrison has no idea why he would have gone anywhere near that area.
Mrs Harrison, who works as an office administrator for a Hamilton chartered accountants firm, said she and her husband were preparing to start a new chapter in their lives, with the youngest of their four grown children leaving home this week.
"This is a big move for us, time to carry on, just the two of us. I just hope we find him soon," she said.
Anyone with any information about Mr Harrison or sightings of his white utility vehicle is asked to contact Constable Paul Helwig at the Hamilton Central Police Station on 07 858 6200.
Alternatively, information can be left anonymously with Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
- Waikato Times