Unearthed gun pit could go on display

MICHAEL FORBES
Last updated 06:45 23/01/2013
Buckle St
CHRIS SKELTON/Fairfax NZ

MEN AT WORK: Work continues on the temporary diversino for Buckle St, which will be transformed into a tunnel. The new road will open later this week.

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A new military display in Wellington is being talked about as a result of all the historic ruins found beneath Buckle St.

Since October, the NZ Transport Agency has been digging up the vacant lot across from the Carillon to create a temporary state highway, which opens on Friday.

Once traffic has shifted across, the agency will begin transforming Buckle St itself into a tunnel so a National War Memorial Park can be built overhead in time for Anzac Day 2015.

The Dominion Post reported last year that construction of the temporary road had unearthed an old gun pit and the walls from a garrison hall that used to occupy the site early last century.

Historic Places Trust central region manager Ann Neill said yesterday that the agency managed to remove the gun pit in two parts, meaning it could possibly be put on display.

One option being discussed by the trust, NZTA and the Culture and Heritage Ministry was "some form of museum" in the Olphert building on the corner of Taranaki and Buckle streets, she said.

"There is intense public interest in the military history of the site.

"We're delighted that [the gun pit] came out in two pieces and there's the opportunity to see it in future."

Brodie Stubbs, manager of heritage projects at the ministry, confirmed the talks were taking place but said the term museum might be "a bit grand" for what the ministry had in mind.

"We're looking at the development of the precinct as a whole and working on the idea of an education and interpretation centre where that [archaeological] material might be displayed."

A feasibility study was under way to determine the cost and best location, Mr Stubbs said.

Transport Agency Wellington state highways manager Rod James said that, along with the new road, the intersection with State Highway 1 and Tory St would reopen but drivers would no longer be able to cross Buckle St between Tasman and Tory streets.

The roading changes will be in place until the new underpass is completed in late 2014.

Contact Michael Forbes
Transport and metro reporter
Email: michael.forbes@dompost.co.nz
Twitter: @michael_forbes

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- The Dominion Post

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