A man who spent 10 hours on top of pipes at the entrance of Wellington's Terrace Tunnel has been charged by police.

The 31-year-old has been charged with dangerous driving causing injury and possession of an offensive weapon. He will appear in court at a later date, police said today.

The man, who was armed with a knife, climbed on to the pipes after colliding with another car while driving the wrong way on State Highway 1, city end of the tunnel, around midday.

Police closed the tunnel and spent the afternoon and evening trying to negotiate with him, during which time he refused anything to drink or eat and cut himself with the knife.

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The man spent nearly 11 hours on top of pipes at the entrance of Wellington's Terrace Tunnel. Photo / Supplied
The man spent nearly 11 hours on top of pipes at the entrance of Wellington's Terrace Tunnel. Photo / Supplied

He eventually came down around 10.30pm and was taken away to be medically assessed.

Yesterday, Wellington District Commander Inspector Chris Bensemann said the number one priority during the incident was ensuring the safety of officers, the public and the people involved.

More than 20 staff including AOS, Police negotiators and dog teams assisted and all possible tactical options were considered 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," said Bensemann.

He said the man had been carrying a knife which he used to slash his forearms. Blood splatters were visible on several of the pipes.

The man about to step down from the pipes after 10 hours. Photo / Supplied
The man about to step down from the pipes after 10 hours. Photo / Supplied

The pipes were 1m wide and 12m long, making it "unrealistic" for police to engage with the man.

"He has been difficult to talk to. He is agitated, his energy levels reduced throughout the afternoon in the heat of the day," Bensemann said earlier.

"He is making requests to speak to his partner and we're trying to work through those requests."

Bensemann said police were determined to resolve the issue without "anyone being hurt".

Police closed the tunnel following the incident and organised four double-decker buses to be parked underneath the man, reducing the drop space between him and the ground.

Bensemann thanked Fire and Emergency NZ, Wellington Free Ambulance and Metlink for their assistance in "hot and tiring conditions" throughout the incident.

"We are aware of the major disruption this caused to traffic around the city and Police would like to again thank the public for their patience and understanding."