Police are making further enquires before deciding to restart a search and rescue operation off the Northland coast which was called off after six hours last night.

Sergeant Craig Burrows, Search and Rescue co-ordinator, said police received reports of two people - a man and a child - stranded near an overturned dinghy in Oakura Bay about 6.10pm.

Northland Rescue Helicopter and two Coastguard vessels were called to search Oakura Bay, which is about 50km north of Whangarei on the east coast of the North Island.

"They've spent several hours searching, unsuccessfully. Not finding any debris or any persons in the water. Weather conditions were perfect for searching."

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Burrows said the search was called off about 12.40am today after clearing the whole of Oakura Bay, 3 miles out past Henry Island, inland Whangaruru Harbour and further south of Oakura Bay.

He said police would be making enquiries to find out where the pair are, before making any decisions on recommencing the search.

He said no one had been reported missing and police were investigating the possibility the pair had come to shore.

"If this was anybody that you know could they please contact police and let us know."

If you have any information contact Whangarei police on 09 430 4500.