The two boats, which had been reported as missing separately, were found in quick succession.
There were four survivors but one person had died.
The search and rescue operation was coordinated by the Rescue Coordination Centre Fiji after initial search efforts by Kiribati authorities failed.
The Orion was initially searching for a five-metre wooden fishing vessel, which had gone missing between Tarawa and Maiana Islands and had last been seen on 30 October.
The crew were later asked to also look for a smaller aluminium boat, 72 nautical miles west of Tarawa.
Photo New Zealand Air force