People in Wellington today had the chance to view the newly-built Arras Tunnel, running under the planned National War Memorial Park, before it opens to traffic on Monday.
The tunnel took its name from the French town of Arras where hundreds of New Zealanders built an underground cave network during the First World War.
The underpass was opened by the Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage, Chris Finlayson, at about 11am, with people able to walk through until it was shut again at about 2pm.
As part of the opening, there was a wreath-laying ceremony to recognise the New Zealand tunnellers' work in Arras.
The head of the underground Wellington Quarry Museum in Arras, Isabelle Pilarowski, said in Wellington today that the reputation of the New Zealand tunnellers was known and respected.
"It's not talk about fighting soldiers but talk about the work done by the New Zealand Tunnelling Company for six months. It saved thousands of lives."
The tunnel's walls are decorated with large sculpted poppies in memory of the 446 men who built the tunnel network that saved thousands of soldiers' lives during the Battle of Arras in 1917.
Among the thousands of people at today's ceremony was Vietnam veteran Keith Garwood, whose grandfather, Sapper Jack Bankier, was one of the tunnellers.
"He sailed with the third reinforcements and joined his unit in the field in France on the very first day of the Battle of Arras. He was with the New Zealand Tunnelling Company from that point forward until he was actually invalided out in 1918."
Eileen Tiller, 91, is a niece of another tunneller, Sapper Fred Hansen.
She said today has helped to make up for missing out on the 95th anniversary of the Battle of Arras in France in 2012, when the trip had to be called off because of her son's illness.
The Arras Tunnel, which was finished one month ahead of schedule, opens for traffic on Monday.