The Government has grave fears that foreign nationals will be among those killed in the Christchurch earthquake.
It has been confirmed that there are no survivors from the collapsed CTV building in the central city following a 6.3-magnitude quake on Tuesday.
The building housed a private language school for foreign students called Kings Education, as well as the Canterbury television station and a nursing school. Police believe up to 120 people were in the building.
Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully says there will be a long and difficult wait for families and friends around the world and the Government will do everything it can to assist as they wait for news.
On Thursday, foreign consular staff in Christchurch received briefings from police and were taken inside the central city cordon to view the destruction.
Staff from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) are in contact with embassies, consulates, foreign emergency crews and police.
Families overseas await news
Parents of some of the 10 Japanese students who remain inside the Canterbury Television building are due to arrive in Christchurch on Thursday.
Many of the students, from the Toyama College of Foreign Languages in Japan, had arrived in the country a matter of days ago to attend classes held at the building.
The Kings Education language school said on Thursday it feared nine staff and 39 students students remained in the building.
The head of the college in Japan, Associate Professor Tadashi Jimbo, says 11 students were rescued from the building, some with severe injuries. One boy had his right leg severed below the knee.
Professor Tadashi Jimbo says everyone was in the auditorium on the fourth floor of the building, where orientation for the course had been due to start nine minutes after the earthquake struck.
The number of Japanese citizens missing in Christchurch has increased to 27.
Japanese deputy consul-general Mitsuko Ito says the increase has come about because the embassy is receiving more calls from worried family and friends in Japan, and its Christchurch team are not able to get in touch with all those registered as being in the region.
Fears for Filipino students
The Philippines Embassy suspects 11 Filipino students are in the building, based on information from the Education Ministry and families looking for those missing.
Two British among dead
The British Foreign Office has confirmed that two British nationals died in the Christchurch earthquake.
A spokesperson says next of kin have been informed and the British government is providing consular support.
Two Irishmen confirmed among dead
Two Irishmen have also been confirmed as being killed in the quake.
Earlier in the week, the Department of Foreign Affairs in Ireland named Eoin McKenna as a victim, and another man, yet to be named, has been now confirmed as dead.
The RTE National radio station in Ireland says Mr McKenna, who was in his early 40s, was married to a New Zealand woman and had two children.
The Department of Foreign Affairs in Ireland says it has not been able to contact nine other Irish people and has strong concerns for two of them.
Consular officials have concerns for one Australian they have been unable to locate following, AAP reports. Previously, officials were concerned about three people.
Woman searching for husband
Suzanne Craig is searching for her husband Phil Coppeard, who was heading to Canterbury University when the quake struck on Tuesday.
Ms Craig, who survived the London bombing, says she hasn't heard from her husband since he jumped on a bus just after midday that day.
Daughter's anxious wait
The daughter of a woman thought to be trapped in the Canterbury Television building is hoping her mother will be found alive, but says she is preparing for the worst.
Teremoana Wilson, whose mother is a receptionist at a medical clinic in the building, is following events from her home in Sicily.
Ms Wilson says a man who worked in the clinic was pulled from the rubble on Wednesday and she is hoping someone can verify whether her mother was in fact in the building at the time.