About 70 rest home residents are being evacuated from Christchurch to other South Island centres and Auckland on Friday evening.
The Government said on Thursday that more than 200 elderly residents need new accommodation after their housing was damaged in the earthquake on Tuesday.
Many are being taken home by family members and the Air Force will move the others.
Squadron Leader Kavae Tamariki says an Air Force Boeing will take some people to Dunedin and continue on to Auckland. A Hercules will take the rest of the group to Blenheim and others to Nelson.
The rest home residents are understood to have come from four aged care facilities.