A kayaker blown out to sea off the coast of Northland was rescued last night after more than six hours in rough seas.

The 62-year-old left work at the Marsden Point oil refinery about 6.30pm to kayak across the Whangarei Harbour to his home in Reotahi, police said.

When he hadn't arrived at 9.20pm, police were alerted, and a search launched using the Whangarei Coastguard and Northland Emergency Services Trust Helicopter.

About 1am this morning, the man was located about 1.5km off the coast near Ruakaka Beach.


Northland Police Search and Rescue's Senior Sergeant Cliff Metcalfe said the actions of the man were bordering on "stupid", and he placed rescuers lives at risk.

"There was already a weather warning in place for Northland with heavy rain, gale force winds and atrocious conditions on the water."

Mr Metcalfe said the man was pushed out of the harbour by the strong wind and outgoing current, and he was "extremely lucky" to be found

"This incident is a reminder that people need to check the weather conditions before they go out in a boat.

"People also need to take some form of communication, such as a cellphone or marine radio so they can let others know if they get into trouble."