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Search under way for missing NZ plane

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An air and land search is under way in New Zealand's Tararua Ranges after an ultralight plane carrying two people went missing.

Maritime New Zealand's Rescue Coordination Centre is leading a search for the lost plane, which left Foxpine Airstrip on Sunday afternoon in rough skies and failed to reach its intended destination of Paraparaumu.

The plane is reported as a two-seater Tecnam, commonly used for training flights.

Rescue co-ordinator Keith Allen told Radio NZ one of the two men on board was an instructor.

"It appears they were reasonably regular fliers," he said.

"We did carry out a helicopter search around the Foxpine Airstrip in case there had been some form of accident on take-off.

"The radar plots show the plane taking off from Foxpine and tracking to the west and going over the Tararua Range.

"Given the height they were at last night it would have been reasonably strong winds and probably some sort of rain."

The search was abandoned on Sunday night due to poor visibility and weather.

A helicopter crew drafted in for Monday's search effort were not expected to have much time in the air with severe gales expected in the search area.

Reports state the private aircraft did not have an emergency transmitter, and the pilot's personal locator beacon has not been activated.

© AAP 2019