A woman was shocked to see sticky tape used to keep an engine panel together on the Air New Zealand plane she was flying in.

Jessica Baker was flying from Nelson to Christchurch with her 11-month-old son, Fairfax reported.

A passenger next to her pointed out the tape on the engine of the Bombardier Q300 turboprop plane, which made here feel "quite terrified".

"I'm not a good flyer so it made me incredibly nervous seeing that," Ms Baker told Fairfax.

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An Air New Zealand spokeswoman said the tape was not ordinary duct tape.

Rather, it was specialised aviation speed tape made of aluminium, which is approved by manufacturers and the Civil Aviation Authority.