Families are being urged to check with the parents of visiting children after a seven-year-old's sleepover with a friend sparked a major police search overnight.

Christchurch schoolgirl Taraipinie Skudder was reunited with her family this morning when she was found walking home after spending the night at the friend's house.

The girl's family had reported her missing at around 10pm yesterday.

"We are delighted that the girl was found safe and well this morning," Senior Sergeant Rob Patterson said.

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"But her family has been through a lot of unnecessary stress.

"It was also frustrating that significant police resources, as well as volunteer search and rescue teams, were tied up overnight and from early this morning, when a simple phone call could have put everyone's minds at rest.

"Of course it's natural for children to visit friends. But we urge families to watch out for children who may be visiting, check their wellbeing, and make sure the child's family is aware of their whereabouts," he said.

If people were unsure who to contact, they should phone police.

- NZPA