A rescue team is taking off to look for a boat missing from Great Barrier Island in wild weather.

The boat with two on board was reported missing from Tryphena yesterday, after failing to return from a fishing contest on Friday.

A police spokesperson says the search team is down to just one Coastguard aircraft, although the police boat is on standby.

The Coastguard says the weather's improving, after severe winds forced yesterday's search for the pair to be called off.


A police spokeswoman on Saturday said the boat left Tryphena after a fishing competition on Friday and failed to make contact with friends or family who were expecting a call at 5pm.

"We were notified at 11.45am today that a boat with two people on board was overdue," she said on Saturday.

She said the Auckland police launch was searching the area around Great Barrier Island in heavy seas.

Coastguard spokeswoman Georgie Smith said police had asked Coastguard to support the search but they were unable to do so because of the weather.

"The severe winds are such that at this stage we are not prepared to put people into the search. The safety of our people is paramount," she said on Saturday.

"Our Coastguard Air patrol has been unable to fly due to the weather conditions. We have volunteers on standby ready to help."

Metservice meteorologist Ciaran Doolin said conditions on Saturday were rough and visibility had been poor for searchers.

Winds gusted at up to 110km/h and there was rain and developing swells.


Shane Harris, who runs the Swallow burger restaurant at Claris, posted on Facebook that the storm blew out a window in his house and ripped a hatch off his caravan.

"We actually had a window smashed at our house today, that's pretty bad. The wind made the latch slowly wiggle and then the door blew off," he told the Herald just after 6pm Saturday.

"That was around midday. It's still bad."

A resident of Tryphena said the weather has been "absolutely ghastly" on Saturday.

"They said it was going to blow at 55 knots... it did it in gusts so you didn't even know it was coming, I would think."

Items had been knocked off the woman's veranda by the wind.

Organisers of the Black Jug Fishing Haggle on Saturday declined to comment.

The Haggle is described on the Great Barrier Island tourism website as the area's "quintessential open fishing competition".

Last year's competition had 140 entrants.