Wellington memorial tunnel adorned with poppies

  • 31/08/2014

The newly named Arras Tunnel, which runs under the National War Memorial Park, will be open to traffic at the end of this month.

Prime Minister John Key, Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee and Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Chris Finlayson this morning affixed the last of the 273 decorative poppies on the wall of the tunnel.

The poppy tiles symbolise the 2721 New Zealand fatalities in the Anzac campaign.

Mr Finlayson announced the tunnel will be named Arras Tunnel, for the French town where the New Zealand Tunneling Company dug networks of tunnels during WW1.

"I have visited Arras, and reminders of the New Zealand presence and contribution are still in evidence today," Mr Finlayson says.

"Not solely through the memorial to the Company's fallen soldiers erected by the town, but also by the graffiti they left in the tunnels during construction, including messages in Cook Islands Maori.

"The naming of Arras Tunnel is a fitting acknowledgement of this connection."

The poppies were designed and manufactured in Wellington and are scattered along both walls throughout the tunnel. Mr Finlayson says they are there to remind drivers they are passing through a memorial space.

There will be a public walk through of the tunnel on Saturday 27 September before it officially opens on Monday 29 September.

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source: newshub archive