New Zealand is one of the first countries to respond to a call for help from Japan after a tsunami swept over the north of the country, killing hundreds and wiping out thousands of homes.
Prime Minister John Key announced today six urban search and rescue team members would leave tonight after Japan asked for help, and the balance of the 48 team members would probably leave tomorrow.
It was too early to say how long they would be there but it could be two or three weeks.
He said the early call for help showed the New Zealand team was world class.
"They proved that and when the Japanese team came and worked alongside them in Christchurch they saw first hand just how good our people are and it is a feather in their cap that despite the fact that we are dealing with a massive earthquake in Christchurch, the Japanese have turned to New Zealand and asked us for support.
"We obviously want to give that support to the people of Japan. They have been very kind and generous to us."
The Japanese were among the first to respond to Christchurch's plight, and we reckon that it is entirely fitting that New Zealand responds in kind. It's a huge ask for the New Zealand USAR personnel who have worked tirelessly since 22 February, but the need in Japan is urgent and of a scale far beyond what they faced in Christchurch.
We wish them Godspeed as they make preparations to depart for Japan. They have a huge task ahead of them.