Police divers have been called to search near a group of offshore islands in Northland after debris from a missing boat was discovered.

The wreckage of the 7m boat was spotted late on Thursday after a search was launched for a 53-year-old Mangawhai man who was last seen on Wednesday about 6pm.

The man had taken his 7m Buccaneer for a spin in the Mangawhai Harbour to test the boat's engine. When he did not return by the expected time, his wife went to the Mangawhai Surf Lifesaving Club to ask members if they could look for her husband.

A search began with a fixed-wing aircraft, police helicopter and Westpac Rescue Helicopter. The search was hampered on Thursday because of rough weather.


Coastguard ceased their search on Thursday night.

Sergeant Graham Jex , of the Police Maritime Unit in Auckland, said debris from the missing boat was found in and around Hen and Chicken Islands.

The police dive team from Wellington were on their way North and were expected to use the police boat Deodar for their search yesterday.

The police Eagle helicopter had also been searching the area yesterday morning.