Auckland Harbour Defences 1885-1896

One of the most popular places to view the city of Auckland is from the volcanic cone of North Head on the city’s North Shore, but many of its visitors are surprised at the 8-inch disappearing gun located on the south side of the summit. This 8-inch Armstrong remains today as a very physical and tangible reminder of another time when New Zealand was first concerned to meet the threat of foreign intrusion from over the horizon.Read More

Torpedo Bay Mining Base

Torpedo Bay boatyard has a fascinating story to tell. Many of the buildings date from the days of the mining base and it is one of the most intact examples of a nineteenth century mining establishment in New Zealand and possibly in the Southern Hemisphere. In addition, each of the individual buildings tells a part of the story and contributes to an understanding as to how the base functioned.Read More

Whangaparaoa Tunnels

During the Second World War the Whangaparaoa Peninsula was the largest concentrated area of coast defence activity in New Zealand. Apart from the batteries, there were two RNZN sites that controlled the degaussing range and an observation post for the controlled minefield that was laid across the Whangaparaoa Passage.Read More

HMNZS Tamaki at Narrow Neck

The Royal New Zealand Navy’s association with Narrow Neck really only dates from 1963, when the Training establishment, HMNZS Tamaki, moved into some surplus Army space.  At that time there was still a strong army presence, in fact during the flag raising ceremony on 26 September, what was to become the Administration Block, just inside the main entrance, was still divided into flats and the slightly bemused residents watched the ceremony from their windows.Read More

HMNZS Tamaki on Motuihe Island

With the outbreak of the Second World War, a training establishment for naval personnel to man the expansion of the New Zealand naval force was required.  The Government was well aware that while the nation did not have a sizeable fleet to contribute to the war at sea, a steady supply of trained men could be provided.Read More

Kauri Point

During the 1930s the Navy was ordered to vacate the Narrow Neck location of the armament stores that had been there since 1927. The site was selected by the commander of the NZ Division of the RN, and NOCA. The site was named Onetaunga (moorings beach) but was wrongly identified as Kauri Point.Read More

HMNZS Tasman

A naval barracks with accommodation for 200 officers and ratings was built at Lyttelton where the oil storage facility is currently and commissioned on 20 January 1944 by Commander T.S. Critchley, NOIC Lyttelton as HMNZS Tasman. It was used by the RNZN as a training facility for telegraphists and anti-submarine warfare. Read More

HMNZS Olphert

Charles Palmer was the driving force behind the formation of a volunteer reserve in New Zealand and in 1925 the Auckland Division of the RNVR (NZ) was formed.It was followed by divisions formed in Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin in 1928. The Wellington Division of the RNVR (NZ) was formed on 12 March 1928.Read More

HMNZS Ngapona

The location of the Auckland Volunteer Reserve Division HMNZS Ngapona at St Mary’s Bay is due to the efforts of one man, Charles Palmer, the father of the Naval Volunteer Reserves in New Zealand. On 17 November 1924 Commander Middleton was appointed as Commander of the RNVR [NZ] base in Auckland. Read More

Elizabeth House and Wren accomodation

The Women’s Royal New Zealand Naval Service (WRNZNS) or ‘Wrens’ came into being on 11 April 1942 with the approval of the War Cabinet.  In July 1951, the Ventor Hotel was purchased by the RNZN to be the barracks for the WRNZNS.  A year was taken up with refurbishment and the first group of 71 Wrens arrived in July 1952.  This was christened as Elizabeth House.Read More

The Pumping Plants of Calliope Dock

The Calliope Dry Dock was opened for the Auckland Harbour Board on 16 February, 1888. The following description of the equipment which superseded the original was sourced from the Auckland Harbour Board archives held by the Maritime Museum Auckland.Read More

Calliope Dock

The dry dock, along with the pump house, is two of the oldest and most significant maritime related structures in New Zealand. On 13 May 1881 after a two year vigorous debate over Devonport versus Kauri Point or Birkenhead the Auckland Harbour Board voted in favour of Devonport with the casting vote of Mr Oliver Mays who represented Devonport.Read More