A search for a missing diver has been suspended after he failed to surface this morning.

Canterbury police said a group of experienced divers went for a dive, about 7.5 nautical miles north of Motunau Beach, at 10.40am.

However, one of the three divers did not surface at 11am.

"Nearby vessels assisted with a search for the man before police were called and initiated a search at midday," police said.

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The Westpac Rescue Helicopter also completed an air search and the Coastguard co-ordinated a water search.

Police say the search has now been suspended until tomorrow, when the Police National Dive Squad will begin to search the area.

The man's immediate next of kin have been notified by police.