A search and rescue satellite receiving station which will make it easier to find people lost in the bush or at sea is complete.
Six satellite dishes have been constructed between Taupo and Rotorua, as part of a project by Maritime New Zealand and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.
A similar receiving station has been constructed in Western Australia ahead of the introduction of medium-Earth orbit search and rescue (MEOSAR) satellites, which will begin operation in 2017.
This will significantly boost search and rescue capability in the New Zealand and Australian search regions, Maritime NZ says.
The MEOSAR system means beacon signals will be received more quickly and beacon locations identified with greater accuracy.
There are 54,000 emergency distress beacons registered in New Zealand. They will not be affected by the change.
The Rescue Co-ordination Centre NZ, part of Maritime NZ, responds to 550 beacon alerts a year.