A woman who watched the 6pm news tonight recognised the woman and child who were staying with her as Skye Mason and Alyssa Barker.
Alyssa was taken from her family home in the tiny settlement of Makaurau, north of Auckland, at about 3pm on Friday.
Mason also disappeared from this property at about this time after she had been welcomed into the home by Alyssa's parents.
She had been taken in by the family after they had taken pity on her for sleeping rough in the neighbourhood.
The woman who alerted police tonight of having Mason and Alyssa in her home appears to also have been a good Samaritan.
She had waited until the pair was asleep before she called the police at 9.15pm to notify them of her house guests.
Alyssa will soon be reunited with her family and 27-year-old Mason has been taken into police custody.
Police, who attended the Swanson address, said Alyssa was well and didn’t seem to be suffering any ill-effects as a result of her 36-hour absence.
Detective Inspector Stan Brown of Waitakere Police said he and his staff were delighted to be able to return Alyssa to her family and very grateful to media for their support during what was a nervous search.
"This is one story that does not have a tragic end for a child and for that, we are very happy."
Police earlier said Mason had a history of mental illness and a small criminal history.
- Fairfax Media