About 70 army medical staff have been deployed to help with the rescue efforts in Christchurch .
The 6.3-magnitude quake that hit at 12.51pm on Tuesday caused multiple fatalities and injuries.
Major Angus Mace from the Burnham Military Camp says all of the base's doctors, clinicians, nurses and senior medics will be based at Christchurch central police headquarters.
Mr Mace says a further 60 troops were helping police form a cordon around the central city area.
Another 330 troops were returning from an exercise in the lower South Island to join them.