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The National War Memorial Park

The National War Memorial Park in Buckle Street, Wellington, will be the Government’s key project to commemorate the Centenary of the First World War and the national focus for Anzac commemorations in 2015.

Roads are not usually built to meet deadlines so special legislation was passed to allow the New Zealand Transport Agency to fast-track the building of the underpass. This will mean Memorial Park can be opened in time for Anzac Day 2015, 100 years after the battle of Gallipoli.

An alliance, or team, has been formed to complete this project.

The Memorial Park Alliance

The alliance is made up of;

  • New Zealand Transport Agency
  • Downer
  • HEB Construction
  • Tonkin and Taylor
  • URS

An alliance allows different companies or organisations to work together to meet one common goal. It means work can be done faster with less money. Alliances have also been formed in Christchurch to work on rebuilding the city's earthquake damaged services and roads, and also in Auckland on the Waterview Connection project, New Zealand’s largest roading project.

The people who have joined together in the alliance include;

  • designers
  • engineers
  • geologists
  • archaeologists
  • road and construction workers

Creating a War Memorial for all of New Zealand

A National War Memorial Park will be built above the tunnel where Buckle Street once was. The park will reach from the Basin Reserve to Taranaki Street.

In the centre of the park there will be the Ceremonial Plaza built in front of the current National War Memorial where Buckle Street was.

The Memorial is made up of

  • the Carillon – a 74 bell tower
  • the Hall of Memories – an area with six mini-chapels at the base of the Carillon used for commemoration services
  • the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior –  the tomb for an unidentified soldier who was one of the many New Zealand soldiers killed on the Somme in France during the First World War

A new Memorial Park will improve the setting of the National War Memorial and strengthen the heritage value of the entire area.  A large grassed and paved area will be created to provide space for people to gather for services. This area can also be used to place new memorials from countries with which New Zealand has a close military relationship.

Creating the park

The drawings of Memorial Park are like a big picture. We can see what it will look like but the details are still to be filled in.

The Ceremonial Plaza will be a paved area between the National War Memorial and the boundary of Mount Cook School.

Australia, which is New Zealand’s Anzac partner, will also build a war memorial on the plaza. The memorial will be a tribute to our two countries’ shared military history and will reflect the Australian landscape with columns of red sandstone and rows of gum trees.

Anzac Day, 25 April 1932: 50,000 people stand in silence for the dedication of the Carillon on Mount Cook/Pukeahu. Image: Alexander Turnbull Library. Photo: Sydney Charles Smith.


The new Memorial Park will allow a lot more people to gather to remember those who lost their lives in war. Image: NZTA


This aerial photo gives an overview of the construction site for Memorial Park showing the trench construction where Buckle Street used to be. Image: NZTA.

Visit your local war memorial and find out more about who it commemorates.