Government calls for release of Kiwi pilot Phillip Mehrtens' still held hostage in West Papua

The New Zealand government is again calling on the West Papua Liberation Army to release the kidnapped pilot Phillip Mehrtens.

Wednesday this week will mark one year since the New Zealander was taken hostage in Papua by rebels in the Nduga Regency province.

Mehrtens was taken hostage a year ago on 7 February in Paro, Papua, while providing vital air links and supplies to remote communities.

In a statement on Monday, Foreign Minister Winston Peters strongly urged those holding Mehrtens to release him immediately without harm.

Peters said his continued detention serves no-one's interests.

"We strongly urge those holding Phillip to release him immediately and without harm," he said.

For the last year, a wide range of New Zealand Government agencies has been working extensively with Indonesian authorities and others towards securing Mehrtens release.

The response, led by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, has also been supporting his family.

The Foreign Minister said they know Mehrtens was able to contact some friends and family just before Christmas to assure them that he is alive and well.

He said he has spoken with the Mehrtens family recently and assured them the government was exploring all avenues to bring the pilot home.