The Defence Force is investigating its processes of returning dead soldiers to New Zealand after a body in a Christchurch morgue was found to have live ammunition on it.

A bomb squad was called to Christchurch Hospital about 10.30am today after "unexpended ammunition" was found in the personal protection kit of a body in the morgue.

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) refused to say whether it was connected to one of the three soldiers killed in Afghanistan on Sunday.

The trio were flown into Christchurch yesterday, where an emotional ramp ceremony was held, before their bodies were taken away by hearses to the Coroner.


An NZDF spokesman confirmed the explosive ordnance disposal squadron was called to the hospital this morning.

"The items were subsequently made safe by explosive ordnance disposal personnel," a New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) spokesman said.

"NZDF will be investigating the sequence of events and processes that took place in repatriating our deceased back to New Zealand."

The spokesman refused to comment further.

Canterbury District Health Board directed all inquiries to NZDF.

However, a DHB spokeswoman confirmed the morgue was evacuated after the discovery was made.

Police also referred all calls to NZDF.