Wellington’s new tunnel

Road worker takes photo of car going into tunnel

October 16 2014. Traffic is flowing through Arras Tunnel, while schools can sign up to November’s virtual field trip to the National War Memorial Park.

Wellington’s Arras Tunnel opened to traffic a month early, as work continues on the National War Memorial Park overhead.

School students will experience the tunnel and park project again in Term 4, with a virtual field trip starting on 11 November.

The park will be open in time for Anzac Day 2015, the centenary of the Gallipoli landings in the First World War.

The first cars entered the tunnel, which puts a stretch of State Highway 1 underground, late on the night of Sunday 28 September. The day before, an estimated 10,000 people walked through the tunnel during an open day.

Arras Tunnel is named after a French Town where the New Zealand Tunnelling Company served from November 1916. Their role was to extend an existing tunnel system towards the German lines and create new tunnels capable of housing nearly 20,000 men.

Wellington’s Arras Tunnel is lined with decorative poppies to symbolise New Zealanders who lost their lives in the First World War.

The next virtual field trip will include video interviews with project staff in Wellington, live audio conferences with schools around the country and additional learning resources.

Virtual Field Trip: Memorial Park

More information on Arras

Students can read more about the involvement of New Zealanders in tunnelling operations near Arras, France during the First World War:

School Journal Level 4 June 2014: Underground Soldiers (PDF 2 MB)

What New Zealanders left behind in Arras, France (WW100 site)

The WW100 article has a map, photos and links to newspaper articles and a TV documentary.