Passengers on an Air New Zealand flight to Auckland were forced to leave the plane shortly after boarding at Christchurch Airport this morning after they were exposed to fumes from de-icing.

Air New Zealand said the passengers were disembarked shortly after boarding the A320 jet after a strong smell was noticed in the cabin.

The smell was from an anti-freeze product used to de-ice aircraft in cold weather, an Air New Zealand spokeswoman said.

Some passengers reported sore eyes and first aid treatment was offered.

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The flight, carrying 123 passengers, was delayed because of the incident and was expected to depart at 9.15am.

One passenger, Stuart Reilly, tweeted: "Just been kicked off air nz flight chch to ack, thy sprayed plane with de icer which filled plane with fumes, awesome work NOT".

He later added: "spraying deicer is fine, getting in the plane so we have to all get off and be attended by medical staff is not, that's the issue."