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. The project was completed 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,

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 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. The Arras Tunnel first opened for traffic in September 2014.

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

The project was constructed by the Memorial Park Alliance, made up of Downer NZ, HEB Construction, Tonkin + Taylor and AECOM.

  • 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.
  • Community engagement

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

    Summary of earlier engagement(external link)

    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.

    Community engagement summary report [PDF, 4.4 MB]

    A number of interested parties were directly consulted about the project, 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.