A search and rescue effort is underway for two people overdue from a climb on Mt Earnslaw in the South Island.

Police said authorities were alerted to the situation yesterday when the pair, who were due back yesterday, did not return.

Mt Earnslaw, also known as Pikirakatahi, is located within Mount Aspiring National Park at the southern end of the Forbes Range of the Southern Alps.

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A vehicle belonging to the pair was found at the spot where it is thought they had left it, a spokeswoman said.

It is understood a search and rescue team is now responding to the area in a bid to find the climbers.

- More to come