An international military exercise is taking place at the top of the South Island, involving more than 2,000 personnel.

Exercise Southern Katipo 17 gets under way on Monday and runs until November 18.

The New Zealand Defence Force is hosting personnel from 13 countries, including Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Fiji, New Caledonia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea.

<p style="margin-bottom:1em;padding:0px 0.2em;font-size:13px;">An international military exercise is taking place at the top of the South Island, involving more than 2,000 personnel.</p><div></div>© Larry Downing/Reuters

Exercise director, Lieutenant Colonel Martin Dransfield, says high levels of threats will be used to create challenging training environments across the spectrum of operations.

The exercise areas will be the West Coast, Tasman and Marlborough, extending south to Greymouth in the west and Kaikoura in the east.

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