The Defence Force is set to move into a new home, three years after its central headquarters were destroyed in an earthquake.

The NZDF's base, Defence House in Wellington, was torn down after the 2016 Kaikoura quake damaged the 11-year-old, seven-storey building.

Since then, about 1000 Defence staff have been working out of the nearby Aitken St Freyberg Building, while others have been scattered about the city, Lower Hutt and Upper Hutt.

It was this week announced the site of the old HQ will become the home of a new national archive to store some of the country's most significant historic documents.

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Instead, the Defence Force will be heading into new digs being set up within eye-shot of the Beehive.

The former Bowen State Building behind Parliament – currently being refitted as part of a $203 million renovation to a campus in the area – will soon be renamed the new Defence House.

The building, owned by Precinct Properties, will serve as the official headquarters for the NZDF from October 2, and the lease will be shared with the Ministry of Defence.

Wellington's Freyberg House, the Defence Force building, was demolished after the Kaikoura earthquake. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Wellington's Freyberg House, the Defence Force building, was demolished after the Kaikoura earthquake. Photo / Mark Mitchell

And it will come with a high-security fitout.

Modifications will include special facilities for handling of secure information, an NZDF spokesman said.

It's also getting plenty of natural disaster contingency measures that will let it keep function even if another quake strikes the capital, including electrical generators and a back-up water supply.

Documents from this year's Budget show the Ministry requested and was given an extra $9.2 million to fund the move, saying it had looked at alternatives but found the building had been the best in terms of cost and being able to work closely with the Defence Force.

"With regard to what has happened since the 2016 earthquake, it should be noted that the majority of NZDF Headquarters staff consolidated fairly quickly into Freyberg Building in Aitken St, Wellington, when Defence House was rendered unusable," the spokesman said.

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"This enabled the functions of NZDF Headquarters to continue in a way that meant there was little disruption to the operation of the NZDF."

The Bowen State Building was designed by the Government's Ministry of Works and opened in 1962.

The 10-storey office block has been under redevelopment since 2016, including earthquake strengthening, along with the nearby Charles Fergusson Tower.

The decision to move the Defence Force to the new building was made by the previous government.

A rendering what the building will look like once works are completed. Image / Supplied
A rendering what the building will look like once works are completed. Image / Supplied
Defence Minister Ron Mark tours the new building earlier this year. Photo / Supplied
Defence Minister Ron Mark tours the new building earlier this year. Photo / Supplied