Wellington Scoop

Terrace Tunnel closed for ten hours by man standing above entrance

RNZ photo

Report from RNZ
A man who yesterday sparked a 10-hour standoff with police on top of Wellington’s Terrace Tunnel has been charged with dangerous driving causing injury and possession of an offensive weapon.

He was due to appear in Wellington District Court today but police advised he would be appearing at a later date.

The 31-year-old man was standing on a row of large metal pipes running above the entrance to the tunnel after it closed due to a two-car crash yesterday afternoon. Police said he had a knife with him and was struggling with personal issues.

Wellington District Commander Inspector Chris Bensemann said the man’s health deteriorated in the sun throughout the afternoon, but he had since perked up and was refusing water. Mr Bensemann said the man had requested to talk to his partner. He came down and was arrested at about 10.30pm after speaking to a family member.

News from NZ Police
Police last night arrested the 31-year-old man involved in the Terrace Tunnel incident. The man climbed down safely from the pipes around 10:30pm after speaking to a family member and Police negotiators.

Wellington District Commander Inspector Chris Bensemann said Police’s number one priority in these types of situations is ensuring the safety of our officers, the public and the people involved.

“I am incredibly proud of the professionalism, patience and empathy demonstrated by the Police staff who safely resolved this difficult and sad situation.”

Over 20 staff including AOS, Police negotiators and dog teams assisted and all possible tactical options were considered in order to safely resolve the incident.

“In the end this became a matter of patience and communication and we are glad the incident was resolved without further injury,” says Inspector Bensemann. “I would also like to thank Fire and Emergency NZ, Wellington Free Ambulance, and Metlink for their assistance in hot and tiring conditions throughout the nearly 11-hour incident.”

Wellington.Scoop – January 3
The Terrace Tunnel was closed for ten hours today as police negotiated with a man who was on a girder above the southern entrance to the tunnel.

RNZ reported the man was in a distressed condition and appeared to be bleeding.

Four double-decker buses were positioned on the road under the man.

The tunnel was first closed after a two-car crash, and then the closure was extended because of the man on the girder.

Southbound traffic was gridlocked as it was directed via the Terrace offramp on to the Terrace.

News from NZ Police – January 3
Following a two-vehicle crash this afternoon at the southbound exit of The Terrace Tunnel, Police are speaking to a man with a knife who is standing on pipes above the northbound lane. The man is in a distressed state and a number of Police staff are at the scene. This incident is ongoing and until it is resolved, The Terrace Tunnel will remain closed in both directions.

Police advise motorists to use alternative routes.

News from Metlink at 2pm on January 3
There has been an incident in the Terrace Tunnel that is causing heavy traffic congestion in the area and will cause delays to all bus routes travelling through the Wellington CBD.

There are some bus stops closed on Ghuznee Street affecting the route 21 and 18e. Closed bus stops:

Taranaki Street at Courtenay Place Stop 6910
Ghuznee Street at Willis Street Stop 7908
Taranaki Street at Courtenay Place (near 72) Stop 7910
Ghuznee Street at Cuba Street (opposite) Stop 6909
The Terrace at Salamanca Road Stop 6906
Ghuznee Street at Victoria Street Stop 6908


  1. NigelTwo, 3. January 2019, 19:19

    So the double decker buses are useful for something at last!

  2. Daran Ponter, 3. January 2019, 21:20

    Good to see the double deckers assisting. The man who scaled pipes above the Terrace Tunnel is refusing food and drink and could be up there all night, police say. [via twitter]

  3. Citizen Joe, 4. January 2019, 5:59

    I was in Wellington yesterday and it was a joy to drive around- hardly any traffic at all. Made me think as to whether NZ actually needs all the politicians and public sector email shufflers? Wellington functions a lot better without them.

  4. Harry M, 4. January 2019, 10:33

    I agree Citizen Joe. Bureaucracy begets more bureaucracy. Never ending system of collecting money and private data .

  5. Julia Whaipooti, 4. January 2019, 12:14

    I thought the police response to the situation to ensure the safety of the public, workers and this man amazing. But you know the system’s a bit mucked when the after response is to charge him – sounds more sick than criminal. A square solution to a triangle. [via twitter]