Fuel depot upgrade planned for Cooks' Penrhyn

A fuel depot, schools and clinics in the Cook Islands' remote northern atolls are to get an upgrade during a New Zealand Defence Force exercise starting at the end of the month.

One of the main projects for the force's Tropic Twilight exercise is the relocation and rebuilding of the fuel depot on Penrhyn.

New Zealand's Foreign Minister Murray McCully says improving fuel storage will enable better use of the patrol boat Te Kukupa to carry out fisheries surveillance around the islands.

The force's engineers will also upgrade buildings on Manihiki.

The exercise will involve China, the United States, the UK and France and is aimed at testing the force's abilities to provide disaster relief and humanitarian assistance.

abilities.to deploy alongside other militaries and governments to provide humanitarian help and disaster relief to the region.

It will take place from August 31 to October 12.