The kayaker thought to be missing off Wellington's south coast in bitterly cold and wet conditions was, in fact, at home.

Police appealed for sightings of the man after he was last seen heading behind Taputeranga Island, off the coast of Island Bay, at 4.30pm today.

Three hours later police confirmed the man had contacted them after seeing media reports concerning his safety.

"He is safe and well at home," police said.

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They reminded people to check weather forecasts, swells and tides before heading out on the water and suggested letting someone know where you are going and when you will be back.

Police thanked those involved in the search, including Surf Lifesaving NZ, Coastguard and Land SAR volunteers.

Earlier, the police launch Lady Elizabeth IV was on the water and searchers scoured the coastline.