A rugby fan is feared dead after falling over the 10m-high Maruia waterfall near Murchison at the top of the South Island late yesterday afternoon.

The Christchurch 39-year-old was with a group of workmates travelling from Christchurch to Nelson for tonight's Australia-Russia World Cup match.

Police dogs, kayaks and a helicopter searched the area last night, and the police dive squad was due to resume the search at first light today.