The availability of Freeview|HD (via UHF aerial) will be extended to an extra 160,000 homes in time for the Rugby World Cup.
The government is extending the existing digital terrestrial television service to Whangarei, Rotorua, Gisborne, Taupo, New Plymouth, Whanganui, Wairarapa, Nelson, Timaru and Invercargill.
The decision to expand the network means over 86% of the population will be able to receive the high definition television signal using a UHF aerial by September 2011, up from the present 75%.
Broadcasting Minister Jonathan Coleman explained, "The government’s investment will make it even easier for more New Zealanders to enjoy the benefits of free-to-air high definition digital television including enhanced reception, better picture quality and more channels.”
The digital switchover will begin with Hawke’s Bay and the West Coast in September 2012.
The rest of the country will switch over in three stages between April and November 2013.
New Zealanders who live outside the DTT coverage areas can still receive digital television using a satellite dish.
The government says research shows 72% of New Zealanders have already converted to digital television.
Households that have Freeview, Sky or TelstraClear, are already set for digital switchover.
More information on going digital can be found here.