A plane flying over Rolleston in Canterbury was targeted by a red laser light from the ground.

Police said the origins of the laser was in the vicinity of Beaumont Drive and Strauss Drive in Rolleston south of Christchurch.

The dangers of actions that could lead to the potential loss of an aircraft or someone's life needed to be highlighted, police said.

The plane was a Mt Cook ATR72 and was struck on Sunday at 8.30pm.