The Department of Conservation has closed the tunnels at the Stony Batter Historic Reserve because DOC is no longer confident the local organisation managing visits to the tunnels can ensure the safety of visitors.
The rest of the reserve remains open to the public to walk through and enjoy.
The Stony Batter Protection and Restoration Society previously held a concession to take guided tours through the tunnels, but this concession expired in 2011. Attempts to negotiate a new concession, delivering improved management of the site, have been unsuccessful.
“The Stony Batter tunnels were built during the Second World War as part of a defense system to protect Auckland and its port from attack by enemy ships,” says DOC Auckland Conservations Services Manager Keith Gell.
“We want people visiting this site to have a safe and full experience about this significant piece of our history.”
“We’ve closed the tunnels because we are no longer confident the Stony Batter Protection and Restoration Society can ensure that people entering just under a kilometre of underground tunnels are kept safe. We’re now reviewing the management of the site.”
“We’ll reopen the tunnels when we have a new management arrangement in place that ensures people viewing the tunnels are kept safe.”