Two people are confirmed dead after a plane crashed in the central North Island. They were both flying instructors employed by the Ardmore Flying School.
The plane set off from Palmerston North on Saturday night and was heading to Ardmore via Taupō Airport. After it failed to arrive, authorities were alerted and launched an aerial search.
Police confirmed it was discovered shortly before midday on Sunday.
"Police are at the scene of a plane crash in the Kaimanawa Ranges," a spokesperson said.
"Due to poor weather last night and earlier today which prevented helicopter activity, police were unable to land in the area until late this morning. The overdue aircraft was located around 11:30am today."
Ardmore Flying School says the families have been informed and are "obviously distraught by this tragic loss".
"It is with great sadness that we have been advised that both pilots did not survive the crash and our heartfelt sympathy and thoughts go out to their families, partners and friends," a spokesperson for the school told Newshub.
"We are keeping in close contact with the pilots' families and will support them, our staff and students through this sad time."
The pilots were on a regular flight as part of the requirement to gain flying hours towards a higher qualification.
"At this point we have no indication of what may have occurred on this flight," the spokesperson told Newshub.
"The Civil Aviation Authority has been informed and will now conduct a thorough investigation. Until this investigation is complete we cannot speculate on the possible cause of this tragic event."
The Transport Accident Investigation Commission says it has opened an investigation, and investigators are expected to be at the site on Monday morning.