Rough seas have prevented searchers looking for two 17-year-old high school students and their instructor from entering a cave beneath Paritutu Rock, off the coast of New Plymouth on Saturday.
Bryce Jourdain, 42, Joao Felipe Martins De Melo and Stephen Lewis Kahukak-Gedye, both 17, have been missing since Wednesday afternoon when a rock-climbing adventure went wrong.
Three students fell into the water, but Campbell Shaw was rescued after he clambered on rocks. Mr Jourdain jumped in to rescue the others.
They were part of a group comprising 11 Spotswood College students and two instructors from the Taranaki Outdoor Pursuits and Education Centre.
A team of about 50 searchers have continued scouring the shoreline on Saturday, but there is still no sign of the missing trio.
Taranaki Surf Lifesaving inflatable rescue boats have also been out on the water and an Air Force Iroquois did another aerial search of the coastline.
Incident Controller Inspector Frank Grant said searchers tried to get into parts of a cave underneath Paritutu Rock, but the water conditions were too rough.
"Sadly, we have still not recovered the bodies of Bryce Jourdain, Stephen Kahukaka-Gedye or Felipe Melo but we will continue searching throughout the course of the weekend," Insp Grant said.
"Our focus remains on returning the bodies of Bryce, Stephen and Felipe home to their loved ones."
Shaw told TVNZ's Close Up programme on Friday that conditions for the trip initially had been perfect.
"We weren't supposed to be going to the rock. We were meant to be doing something else, but the decision was made and it was a fine day. But as soon as we got there, the clouds came over and it was raining."
He said the waves became too big.