Police have launched a search and rescue operation after a woman failed to return from a fishing trip off the east coast of Northland.

Sergeant Craig Burrows said a 45-year-old woman had not returned to shore after going fishing off Matauri Bay yesterday and the alarm was raised with police about 8pm.

A Coastguard crew searched the area in the dark last night and a team with the Northland Rescue Helicopter also carried out a search until it was called off.

A dinghy believed to be that used by the woman was found floating at the southern end of Matauri Bay during the search last night.


However, the woman was not found.

Burrows said a police search and rescue squad travelled to the beach this morning and were carrying out a shoreline search.

Matauri Bay is 24km northeast of Kaeo. The Cavalli Islands lie about 4km offshore.