Christchurch police have laid 47 sex abuse charges against three St John of God Brothers who now live in New South Wales.
The move follows a lengthy investigation into historical allegations of abuse at the Marylands School in Christchurch from the mid 1950s.
Detective Sergeant Earl Borrell says arrest warrants have been issued for three brothers aged 56, 67, and 81.
Steps are being taken to extradite them to stand trial in New Zealand. They have been remanded for separate deposition hearings in Christchurch in February.
Mr Borrell says the warrants and relevant documents will be forwarded to Australian Federal Police for further action.