Historic Maungauika/North Head

2010 marked the 125th anniversary of the Barracks Building a the summit of North Head.
2010 marked the 125th anniversary of the Barracks Building at the summit of North Head

North Head is a small strategic headland at the mouth of Auckland's Waitemata Harbour. Its commanding views over the Hauraki Gulf and inner harbour have made it an important lookout and defence site for centuries, first for early Maori inhabitants and later for European settlers.

North Head was one of a number of defence forts that were rapidly set up in the late 1800s to defend Auckland from a feared Russian attack. The fort was later expanded as part of Auckland's coastal defence system during World Wars I and II.

A complex of tunnels, guns, searchlights and other fortifications make this a fascinating area to explore. It is now a historic reserve managed by the Department of Conservation.

North Head (named Maungauika by Maori) is a taonga with many special places. The tangata whenua have a spiritual, cultural and historical relationship with their taonga.

DOC's work

Since 2003 DOC has invested in restoring parts of the North Head site including:

  • The 1885 summit barracks building and the north and south batteries - large underground gun emplacements.
  • The sole remaining gun, an 8" 1886 Armstrong 'disappearing' gun, located at the south battery, which has been restored and returned to ceremonial firing condition.
  • The 1885 stone kitchen, which has been converted to a theatre.

Find out more


Learn more


Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland Visitor Centre
Phone:      +64 9 379 6476
Address:   137 Quay Street
Princes Wharf
Auckland 1010
Email:   aucklandvc@doc.govt.nz
Full office details
Maungauika / North Head Office
Phone:      +64 9 445 9142
Email:   aucklandnorthhead@doc.govt.nz
Full office details