The National War Memorial Carillon has played its first tune in more than three years.
It was one of the first crowdfunded instruments of its type and is comprised of 74 bells, more than 1400 separate parts and weighs about 70 tonnes.
It took more than three years for national carillonist Timothy Hurd to restore and rebuild it.
It had been the restoration job from hell, he said.
"When we actually started taking bells off the frame to investigate the rust we found out that it was a lot, lot, worse than we had thought and so we have actually ended up replacing about 20 percent of the steel frame and all of the supporting headbolts which were whittled down to somewhat under half of their original diameter."
But Mr Hurd said he would do it all again.
"I have played 99 percent of the instruments in the world of this type," he said.
"It is the most beautiful carillon in the world. We are just so blessed to have this instrument here. It's a national treasure and when you're repairing a national treasure failure is not an option."
The carillon was built in the early 1930s.
Of the 74 bells, 32 were donated by friends, family and comrades of those killed in action during World War I.
One of them was funded by the family of Captain Ateo Guisto Leale Frandi, who died at Gallipoli in 1915.
His great nephew, Paul Albert, said it was a reminder of all that was sacrificed.
"At the end of the day he didn't come home, didn't get to have a family," he said.
"I think it's sad if we don't have something to remember a person by, and I think this is a very good way of doing it."
Another bell, the fourth largest, is dedicated to the nurses who died during World War One.
Defence Force chief nursing officer Lieutenant-General Lee Turner said the carillon has a special significance to all New Zealanders.
"If you don't remember where you've come from, you won't remember that you don't want to go there again, so it's all about remembering to avoid the mistakes of the past," he said.
For the next three months the bells will ring every Wednesday at 12.30pm and every Sunday at 2.30pm as part of Wellington's winter concert programme.
There's also an interactive display telling the story of the carillon at the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park.