Project introduction

Undergrounding Buckle Street (State Highway 1), in front of the National War Memorial in Wellington, enabled the creation of the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park in time for the centenary of the Gallipoli Landings (WWI) on Anzac Day 25 April 2015.

Project updates

Memorial Park Expansion Newsletter
Newsletters, (PDF)
175 Taranaki St coming down so park can grow
Newsletters, (PDF)
Commemoration newsletter - June 2015
Newsletters, (PDF)
Project update - January 2015
Project updates, (PDF)
Arras Tunnel opens to traffic a month early
Project updates, (PDF)
Arras Tunnel to open to traffic on Monday
Media release,


Undergrounding Buckle Street by creating Arras Tunnel removed the traffic that would have separated the Pukeahu National Memorial Park from the National War Memorial and created a new unified memorial precinct.


The National War Memorial Park will create additional space for significant days of remembrance. Numbers of people gathering on major ceremonial occasions such as Anzac day is growing every year, and the immediate space around the National War Memorial is often at full capacity. The new park will give those people wishing to commemorate New Zealand’s proud military history an appropriate place to do so.

About the project

When the National War Memorial was first built in 1932 it was highly visible from most areas of the capital. At that time a boulevard was proposed to link the memorial to Courtenay Place. This never eventuated and, while still highly visible, the memorial became isolated in a semi-industrial zone as the city has grown up around it.

In 2005 the Crown acquired land on behalf of the Ministry for Culture and Heritage on Buckle Street, to create a national war memorial park across the road from the National War Memorial. This park was to join the adjacent National War Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior as a major focal point for New Zealanders to commemorate sacrifice during time of war.

On 7 August 2012 the government announced  it was proceeding with the creation of a the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, including putting Buckle Street underground to remove the traffic that would separate the park from the National War Memorial. This enabled the creation of a new, unified National Memorial precinct. Development of the park was a key part of the Ministry of Culture and Heritage’s commemoration of the centenary of the First World War, and the completed park was in place for Anzac Day 2015.

Read more about Pukeahu National War Memorial Park on the Ministry for Culture and Heritage’s website(external link).

Park expansion

From November 2015, an expansion project has begun on the park’s western edge to demolish the building at 175 Taranaki St, expand the park into half the cleared land and offer the remainder for sale.

Benefits of the NZ Memorial Park

The Pukeahu National War Memorial Park:

  • improves the setting of the National War Memorial
  • creates a space for new memorials from countries with which New Zealand has a close military relationship
  • provides an opportunity to expand the scope of the National War Memorial to ensure it remains relevant
  • contribute to New Zealanders’ sense of national identity
  • enhance Wellington’s urban landscape by increasing access to the memorial precinct, creating pathways for people to move through, as well as spaces for people to pause and reflect
  • fit into the Wellington City Council’s long term plan for a ‘greener’ city, connecting Government House with the parliamentary district through a ‘green corridor’
  • create additional green space, making walking and cycling to work easier for the city’s residents, as well.

Outline approach – phases of work and timeline

  • View timeline
    Phase 1 Site preparation
    August 2012 Geotechnical investigations, analysis and interpretation to inform the detailed design and construction methodology for the undergrounding of Buckle Street.
    August 2012 Consultation with project stakeholders and affected parties.
    September 2012 Archaeological investigations take place.
    Late October 2012–early 2013 Construction of temporary road to the north of the existing State Highway 1 starts.
    Phase 2 Dig the trench
    Early 2013–late 2013 Excavate the 300-metre-long 'cut and cover' trench, which will contain the tunnel. At its deepest point, the trench will be 12 metres at the sides for drainage and 10 metres through the middle.
    Phase 3 Construct the tunnel
    Late 2013–late 2014 Construct the floor, walls and roof of the tunnel.
    Phase 4 The park
    Late 2014 Construction of Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, including landscaping, accesses and structures (completed by Anzac Day 2015).


Community engagement

After the government has announced a new project to put the road underground, the Memorial Park Alliance team worked with the Ministry of Culture and Heritage and the Wellington City Council to deliver this historic project in time for the Anzac Day Centenary Commemorations in April 2015.

  • Keeping the community informed

    The Alliance worked to keep the community informed. Information was provided about each of the four phases of work to enable the community to understand what was being done:

    • phase one – site preparation

    • phase two – dig the trench

    • phase three – construct the tunnel

    • phase four – build the park. 

  • Summary of earlier engagement

    The idea of putting Buckle Street (State Highway 1) underground outside the National War Memorial has been tested several times over the past five to seven years, most recently as part of the Cobham Drive to Buckle Street improvement project in 2011. Of the over 2000 submissions received from the community, approximately 1,300 comments were made about the Memorial Park/Buckle Street developments.

    If you’d like more information on these comments, read the Community engagement summary report [PDF, 4.4 MB].

    A number of interested parties also have been directly consulted over the past few years, including:

    • Wellington City Council

    • Greater Wellington Regional Council

    • Mt Cook Primary School

    • local residents

    • Massey University

    • iwi (Wellington Tenths Trust)

    • New Zealand Defence Force

    • Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association

    • the National War Memorial Advisory Council.


Park designs and development

The images reflect a stage in the development of the park design, not a final outcome. These images, along with artists impressions and concept drawings, have been shared during the community forums. Find out more about the development of Pukeahu War Memorial Park and view final designs(external link)

  • National War Memorial Park layout and connections

    When viewing the images please be aware that the park design is still in development and we do not anticipate the design being confirmed by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage until after the next Community Forum which will take place in late November or early December. The community forums involve representatives of the local community, interest groups and stakeholders and have been organised by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage as part of the park development process.

    The range of images include slight differences in how the connections are shown, with some images showing vehicles on the alignment of the old Buckle St (referred to as the southern lane) and others showing a representation which more implies a pedestrian or shared space. To date there have been a range of opinions and inputs discussed at the forums regarding the detail of the lane through the park. The various opinions reflect issues such as access needs, security, pedestrian, cycle and ceremonial use. The detail should become clear following the next forum.

    On the drawings is a representation of the southern lane which provides a low traffic volume surface level access route in line with the old Buckle St. The southern lane has been indicated on drawings and artists impressions and has been the subject of discussion at the community forums, however; the design is yet to be finalised and any connection of a southern lane at the Sussex St end could not be finalised until the outcome of the Basin Bridge board of inquiry is known.

  • Park drawings

    Large scale printed images can be viewed in the information centre at 175 Taranaki St and our staff will be happy to talk to visitors about the development of the design and associated works.

    Park Aerial View of Western Terraces Daily Design Development.

    Aerial view of western terraces

    Park Aerial View of Western Terraces Daily Design Development.

    Aerial view of western terraces

    Park Aerial View of Western Terraces During Event Design Development

    Aerial view of
    western terraces during event

    Park Exiting Underpass Design Development.

    Exiting underpass design

    Park Landscape Plan Design Development.

    Landscape plan design 

    Park Planting Plan Design Development.

    Park planting plan

    Park View across Western Terraces towards the Carillon Design Development.

    View across western terraces towards the carillon

    Park View East from Taranaki St Design Development.

    View east from Taranaki Street

    Park View from Carillon to AMNZ Design Development.

    View from carillon to Australian Memorial

    Park View South along Tory St Design Development.

    View south along Tory Street




Delivered by the Memorial Park Alliance