Two Kiribati fishermen missing for more than a week have been found safe, adrift in the Pacific Ocean.

The New Zealand Defence Force found the two men about 9.30 last night, on the third day of their search.

Air Commodore Andrew Clark said crewmen on a Royal New Zealand Air Force Orion spotted the pair waving from their small aluminium boat.

Clark said the success of the mission proved the effectiveness of the Defence Force's long-range aircraft, along with its mix of sensors and skilled crew members.


The Orion contacted a Kiribati patrol boat that had also been part of the search and the boat boat was expected to reach the pair this morning.

"The men are safe and well and their vessel is in good condition," Clark said.

"The crew dropped them emergency supplies and a radio and were able to establish communications with them."

The men had left Kiribati's Taboiaki village about 3am last Wednesday to fish off the Nonouti atoll - 4000km north of Auckland.

The Fiji Maritime Surveillance Rescue Coordination Centre asked the Defence Force for help on Saturday.