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Exhibition: Pick & Shovel Men

Tunnelling in Arras in France in WW1


PRICE : Free

WHEN :Thu 20 April to Thu 18 May

WHERE: Masonic Park, The Strand, Tauranga

Hard of hand, muscle and face New Zealand’s tunnellers, our pick and shovel men, left their mark on the WW1 landscape. The latest exhibition from Tauranga to the Trenches explores the tunnels beneath Arras, France, highlighting the hardships and achievements of these brave men, while revealing graffiti that tells their story.

Open daily from 9.30am to 4pm from 20 April through to 18 May 2017.

The Arras Tunnels - NZ Link

In 1916, the New Zealand Tunnelling Company arrived in Arras to connect natural cave systems under the town and extend tunnels from them into ‘no-man's land’, from which troops could surface and have immediate access to enemy trenches. By 1917, the tunnels had reached close to the German lines. In April that year 20,000 British and Commonwealth troops poured from the newly-blasted tunnel exits beginning the Battle of Arras.

Following the re-discovery of the tunnels in 1996 it was found that the New Zealand tunnellers had matched the location of the caves with New Zealand towns: from North to South, from Russell through Auckland, New Plymouth, Wellington, Nelson, Blenheim, Christchurch, Dunedin and finally to Bluff. The names are still carved into the chalk walls. The Carrière Wellington Museum was opened in Arras in March 2008 and includes tours into the cave system itself. See for further information.