A Sikh man has been removed from a regional flight for carrying a knife as part of his faith.

The Civil Aviation Authority said the man was removed from Air New Zealand flight 5701 from Christchurch to Invercargill this morning.

A spokesman for the authority said another passenger noticed what appeared to be a knife and handcuffs on his belt, as he was placing his belt into an overhead locker.

"This observation was mentioned to crew. The passenger was asked to leave the aircraft to check the item or items.

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"He had a small kirpan which is carried as part of his Sikh faith. He did not have any handcuffs."

The spokesman said the man agreed to check the item into his hold baggage and departed without fuss on the next available flight, Air New Zealand flight 5705.

"Both the vigilance of the passenger and the cooperation of the Sikh gentleman are acknowledged as examples of good citizenship."

The authority has confirmed the flight was not subject to any security screening.

Air New Zealand have also been approached for comment.