Police are throwing a morning tea shout to thank the bus drivers who helped them during the 10-hour Terrace Tunnel standoff earlier this month.

A 31-year-old man spent the better part of day on top of the pipes above the entrance to the tunnel on January 3 as police tried to negotiate with him to come down.

The man refused food and drink despite the heat of the day, and cut himself with a knife while he was up on the pipes.

Police organised for four double-decker buses to line up underneath the man to reduce the drop beneath him, should he fall.

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"We got a call out from police just asking if we could have some double decks down at the Terrace Tunnel," Tranzit transport and operations director Keven Snelgrove said.

The buses lined up underneath the pipes. Photo / Katrina Bennett
The buses lined up underneath the pipes. Photo / Katrina Bennett

"We didn't know what was going on but it was pretty urgent, they needed something there. At that stage of the day we only had management and office staff."

Four staff, including Snelgrove, got into the buses and headed to the tunnel to help.

They were there from about 2.30pm until 10.30pm, when the man agreed to come down from the pipes.

"It's hard to get food and water to them because the guy was directly above them and they didn't want to spook him, so they had to go hungry," said Snelgrove, who was at the back of the line so was able to get food.

"I think it's what anyone would do for the community, isn't it?"

Police will be shouting the staff a morning tea in gratitude for their help.

The man climbed on to the pipes after driving the wrong way towards the tunnel and crashing into another car.

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He has since been charged with dangerous driving and possession of an offensive weapon, but has not yet appeared in court, as he is still being held in a psychiatric unit.

He has interim name suppression and is due to appear in the Wellington District Court later this month.