An Air New Zealand plane carrying 40 people made an emergency landing at Auckland Airport after a battery overheated this afternoon.

A Fire Service spokesman confirmed airport fire crews were waiting on the tarmac for the plane to land but other crews were stood down before they got there.

Air New Zealand spokeswoman Marie Hosking said "Air Nelson flight NZ8401 travelling from Auckland to Napier this afternoon returned to Auckland as a precaution after a sensor light indicated a possible battery problem.

"The aircraft landed in Auckland without incident."

The 40 passengers on board and were taken to a lounge area and will be accommodated on alternative services, she said.

- NZ Herald staff