An exercise aimed at testing the New Zealand Defence Force's ability to deploy alongside other militaries will take place in the Cook Islands this year.

Today, Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee and Foreign Minister Murray McCully announced this year's 'Tropic Twilight' exercise will be conducted in the northern Cook Islands atolls of Penrhyn and Manihiki.

Tropic Twilight is a joint exercise in the Pacific, which involves the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Mfat) and other countries with an interest in the region.

The exercise is aimed at testing the Defence Force's ability to deploy alongside other militaries and partner-governments, to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in the Pacific.

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This year military personnel from China, the United States, France and the United Kingdom will also be involved.

The exercise will take place from August 31 to October 12.