The ancient Terracotta Warriors were visited by 1,300 people on the first day of the landmark exhibition at Te Papa in Wellington today.
Some visitors 1 NEWS spoke to purchased their tickets for the exhibition six weeks ago, while others had travelled from outside the region to witness the 2,300 year old soldiers.
"Absolutely fantastic, I’ve been waiting all year to come and see these guys," one woman said.
A young boy said the experience was "really amazing" and that he’d definitely tell his school friends about it.
"It’s something that I’ve only ever heard of and I didn’t think I’d get to see myself," a sixth-generation Chinese New Zealand woman said.
She said the soldiers were a combination of gorgeous and spooky.
"It’s hard to imagine them in the bright colours that they originally were. They do definitely have some quality of being dead in that they were surrounded by death in the afterlife but they also look so lively themselves, they’re all so unique and vivid," she said.
Only 10 members of the 8000 strong terracotta army can be loaned from China at any time.
The army was created to guard the tomb of China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, in Shaanxi province.
Shards of pottery from the warriors were discovered by peasants building a well in 1974.
Te Papa estimate 100,000 people will view the $2.6 million landmark exhibition before it ends on April 22, 2019.