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Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson leaves for France tomorrow to represent New Zealand at commemorations for the centenary of the Battle of Arras.

“Members of the New Zealand Tunnelling Company and the Māori Pioneer Battalion played an important role in Arras during the First World War,” Mr Finlayson said. “Over four and a half months they created almost 10 kilometres of underground passages which were capable of sheltering over 12,000 people.”

More than 100 descendants of the tunnellers will participate in New Zealand’s commemorations, along with representatives of the Cook Islands. Mr Finlayson will also represent New Zealand at commemorative events led by France, Canada and Scotland.

“I am pleased to represent the New Zealand Government at commemorations to remember all those that served in Arras during the First World War,” Mr Finlayson said. “The strong tie New Zealand has with the city of Arras was recognised in 2014 when the tunnel underneath Pukeahu National War Memorial Park in Wellington was named the Arras Tunnel.”

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