An Air New Zealand flight has been forced to make an emergency landing at Dunedin Airport after the pilot detected smoke in a cargo hold this evening.

Air NZ flight 8077 was on route from Christchurch to Invercargill with 54 passengers onboard but was diverted to Dunedin.

When the Q300 aircraft landed just before 9pm fire crews inspected the hull and cargo but no smoke or flames were discovered.

It is suspected that the plane had a faulty warning light in the cockpit.

An Air New Zealand Boeing 767-300ER on route to Perth was forced to make an emergency landing at Auckland Airport earlier today after suffering severe damage to a left-hand engine.