Wairarapa Police have early this morning arrested a man and charged him with the murder of six year old Featherston girl Coral Burrows.
Detective Inspector Rod Drew, head of Operation Reef, says the man will appear in the Masterton District Court later this morning.
Mr Drew says he advised Coralâ€™s family of the arrest at 1am.
"Naturally they are devastated to learn that their wee girl has died," he says. "All they want now is for Coral to be returned to them."
Police have overnight cordoned off an area of scrub near Wairarapaâ€™s South Coast and will this morning start searching for Coralâ€™s body.
"We have not found Coral at this stage. Once it is daylight we will be better placed to assess the situation and start the meticulous search in earnest."
Mr Drew says he canâ€™t comment in detail on the circumstances of the arrest as the matter is now before the court.
"The arrest is another piece helping to complete the puzzle of Coralâ€™s disappearance," Mr Drew says. "It does not mean the end of our inquiry. There is still a lot of work to do including finding Coral and returning her to her family."
Mr Drew says news of the arrest will hearten the South Wairarapa community and people elsewhere in New Zealand who have been so supportive to Coralâ€™s family and the police since the little girl disappeared on Tuesday, 9 September.
Wellington Police District Commander Superintendent John Kelly praised the investigation and search team for their work.