The WanderSearch programme has been developed in New Zealand over the last 15 years.  
It is delivered by not-for profit organisations, working in partnership with NZ Police.  


WanderSearch devices are small, robust radio-frequency signal transmitters that are worn by a person at risk of going missing.  If the person does go missing who is wearing the device, they can be located by trained Police and/or Land Search and Rescue volunteers using specialist equipment to detect the individual specific radio-frequency number of the device.


  • They do not use the cellular network, so they operate in any place in New Zealand.
  • The devices do not require charging.
  • Agreement is given by the person at risk at the time the WanderSearch device is issued.
  • The devices can be in the form of a wrist device / pendant / keyring (this can be clipped onto the person’s belt, or concealed in a favourite item).
  • They have no moving parts and cannot be turned off by the user. There are no external buttons or lights on the device.
  • The battery is sealed within the device. It lasts for 3-6 months. After this time the old device is removed for refurbishment and a new device issued.

  • The person at risk will keep the device with them whenever they go out. Devices can be fitted to children so they cannot easily be removed or forgotten.
  • The devices are worn continuously as they are shower proof and do not need charging.
  • The cost varies with the group that runs the programme. However, charitable funding is being sought so funds are not a barrier to accessing a device.
  • The system does not monitor devices. The only time a person will be searched for using WanderSearch search equipment is when the police are notified that they have gone missing.

WanderSearch is suitable for people who may not be able to use other technologies successfully. For examples of other technologies please check out the Safer Walking website.


WanderSearch provides peace of mind for the person using the device and their family/whanau, friends and caregivers that should they go missing there are methods to assist in locating them quickly. This supports people living and participating with freedom in their communities. People who use a WanderSearch device are found much faster compared to people without any sort of location device.
For people who have frail health or who can be unaware of environmental hazards the time taken to locate them can be critical.

To find out more on how WanderSearch works, and the equipment used please click on the following link:


If you are interested in getting a WanderSearch device please first read in full the document General WanderSearch Information and Guidelines for Clients.

To proceed to get a device, or to find out more information please contact your local group. 
Your local group will be able to discuss your individual situation and any issuing criteria and costs. 


Although other technologies in many situations provide an excellent solution, most of the people at risk in these videos have experience of using WanderSearch devices.  These videos have been created so others may understand Safer Walking and the benefit of having plans and technologies in place to enable personal freedom while managing the risk of going missing.

Russell and his wife Lorraine discuss how Russell (who has young onset dementia) enjoys a lifestyle that enables him to walk with freedom while providing peace of mind he can be found should he go missing.

Jim (who has dementia) has enjoyed a lifetime of being active and walking in his community. Diana, Jim’s wife discusses the steps they have used to support Jim be active and safe.

Brodie (a young man with autism) and his carer Reubin, discuss Brodie’s walking and ways they enable his freedom while considering his safety.