North Island military exercise begins today

A helicopter in mid-air.
A NZDF helicopter. Photo credit: File

People are being told not to panic if they see a large military presence in parts of the North Island from today.

Counter-terrorism training between the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) and the United States Army is getting underway across Auckland, Kaipara and Waiouru.

It is expected to last from May 8 to 23.

The NZDF says the exercise has been planned since 2018, and is not in response to the Christchurch terror attacks.

It will involve special forces from both countries, including aircraft flying at both day and night.  Live weapon firing will take place at the Kaipara Air Weapons Range.

The NZDF said in a statement members of the public may see personnel conducting military activities from helicopters in some areas.

"There is no need for the public to be concerned if they see military action in Auckland over this period.

"The NZDF would like to thank the public in advance for their cooperation during the exercise," a spokesperson said.