A Christchurch woman whose body was found off the Canterbury coast on Saturday night has been named by police.

Jyoti Glenys Edith Lewis, 61, was reported missing about 6pm after she did not return home from walking her dogs near the Rangitata River mouth, between Ashburton and Timaru.

Canterbury police search and rescuers deployed a helicopter to conduct an aerial search.

Her body found was that evening near the shore, a few kilometres north of the Rangitata River, and recovered by the Coastguard.

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Police said victim support services had been offered to Ms Lewis' next of kin, who were still in shock at the sudden loss of a valued friend and member of their family.

"Her family would like to thank all those people who assisted in the search for her," police said.

Ms Lewis' death has been referred to the coroner.