The first live test of the country's new Emergency Mobile Alerts channel being rolled out by the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency took place tonight.

The live test took place between 6pm and 7pm.

Director of emergency management Bay of Plenty Clinton Naude said Emergency Mobile Alerts had been developed to help keep people safe in an emergency.

"These alerts are messages about emergencies sent to mobile phones enabled to receive them. It is expected around one-third of phones will initially be able to receive the alerts.

Advertisement

"This number is expected to rise substantially over time as people replace their phones with newer models," he said in a written statement.

"I cannot stress enough that these alerts do not replace other alerting channels we would use in an emergency.

"In an event, we make use of all communication channels available to us," he said.