A Christchurch community is raising money to help search for a teenager missing off a local beach.

The Sumner community is calling on members of the public to help get a plane up at Scarborough Beach, where a 14-year-old boy they have named as Jack Sutton disappeared on Monday afternoon while swimming with a mate.

A Givealittle page has been set up to help raise the money to get the aircraft. By 8.30am today, just over $5400 had been donated.

"Unfortunately, while swimming at Scarborough Beach, Jack hasn't returned to the beach,'' the page says.

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"There [are] boats, kayakers and paddleboarders in the water. However, we would like to put a plane in the air to assist in the search.

"Family members and friends will be in the plane so they can feel they can do their bit to bring Jack home.

"Let's do what we can as a community to help by funding the light plane.''

Meanwhile, the search for Jack was changed to a recovery operation last night.

Efforts to bring the teen home will continue today, a police spokesman said.

Family members have spent the last few days keeping vigil at the beach; with a tent being set up. Jack's mother is among them.

Officers and on-duty Search and Rescue team members will search the beach and coastline area near Taylors Mistake today.