A search for a prominent New Zealand drinks industry executive after his helicopter went missing has been halted today.

Michael Erceg, who founded Independent Liquor, piloted a helicopter from Auckland's Ardmore airport for Queenstown shortly before 10am last Friday. The helicopter went missing from radars about half an hour later.

Since then up to 20 helicopters have been searching for the missing aircraft covering around 20,000 square kilometres around Taranaki and Wanganui.

No sign of the aircraft or its occupants has been found.

The National Rescue Coordination Centre said it was assessing the effectiveness of the search efforts to date before making a decision on the next step.