New Zealand soldiers have arrived at Camp Taji in Iraq to begin their deployment, the Defence Force has confirmed.

Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Tim Keating said this morning that the deployment was now in place at the military base north of Baghdad, and was preparing to train Iraqi Security Forces.

Lieutenant General Keating said the training would cover a broad range of individual and organisational military skills, including basic weapons training.

"It also includes the planning of operations, and medical and logistics support to operations," he said in a statement.


He said a comprehensive training strategy was designed ahead of the deployment by a team of specialists included linguists, security force assistance, training evaluation and "irregular warfare".

"The New Zealand contingent will emphasise and model the Profession of Arms behaviours, demonstrating how a modern and professional defence force operates."

New Zealand is deploying 143 troops to the region in a non-combat role for the battle against the Islamic State (Isis), for what is expected to be a two-year deployment.

It is part of a combined mission with the Australian Defence Force to help build the capacity of the Iraqi military.

Government has been reluctant to reveal the troops' movements, and has been criticised for its lack of transparency about the mission.

Prime Minister John Key revealed two weeks ago that the soldiers were staying in Dubai ahead of their deployment.

Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee said last week said that most of the soldiers were in Iraq, and the mission was expected to officially begin this week.

The NZDF said that as well as the main contingent in Taji, which included force protection for the trainers, there were several other Defence Force staff in other locations in Iraq.

"For reasons of operational security, NZDF will not be releasing exact numbers or locations of personnel," the statement said.