A pilot was lucky to walk away from a plane crash in South Auckland unharmed today.

The top-dressing plane crashed in a paddock near Kawakawa Bay, close to Clevedon, just after 2pm. It stopped short of a fence but its wing was damaged, police said.

Northern Fire Services spokesman Scott Osmond said the pilot managed to get out of the aircraft uninjured.

Police said the pilot was the only person on board the plane.

It appeared the plane crashed during take-off because of a change in wind conditions, police said.

The Civil Aviation Authority has been advised.