Explore sites with coast defence installations that were built to defend New Zealand from naval attack between 1880 and 1945.

This topic brings together the coast defence installations built to defend New Zealand from naval attack in the period 1880 to 1945. During their time of operation they proved to be an effective deterrent against attacks.

The advent of air warfare made these forts redundant and most were decommissioned by the 1950’s. Godley Head continued because of compulsory military training and last fired a gun in 1959. DOC has around 30 installations  on lands it manages.

The following representative selection are actively managed and developed for visitors:



  • Maungauika/North Head 1870-1957 includes gun batteries, 8 inch disappearing gun, 1885 barracks and kitchen, WWII officers and NCOs quarters, fire command post, engine rooms and searchlights.
  • Fort Takapuna, 1886: includes 6 inch gun, fort, officers mess, barracks, engine rooms and searchlights.
  • CM Base Islington Bay, Rangitoto Island 1942: includes boat ramp and mine base site.
  • Motutapu Island, 1938: includes battery, camp, gun emplacement, pill boxes and US naval magazines.
  • Motuihe Island, 1872: includes human quarantine station 1872 which was converted to a POW camp during WWI, HMNZS Tamaki Naval Base (1941), water tank tower, wharf shelter.
  • Tiritiri Matangi Island: occupied by the Ministry of Defence between 1940 and 1945 as part of the coastal defence network guarding Auckland harbour and its approaches.
  • Waiheke Island: Stony Batter Gun Emplacements, construction began 1942.


  • Cuvier Island Radar Station
  • Hot Water Beach Radar Site



  • Blumine/Oruawairua Island,1942. Includes 2 gun emplacements, observation posts and barracks area.
  • Maud/Te Hoiere Island Gun Emplacement, 1942.
  • Long Island Anti-Submarine Fixed Defence Station, 1942
  • Pillar Point Radar Station site, 1942.
  • Stephens/Takapourewa Island Radar Station site, 1942



Further reading

Corbett, Peter D. (2003). A First Class Defended Port: The History of the Coast Defences of Auckland, its Harbour and Approaches. (Department of Conservation. Available from the Department of Conservation, Auckland office).

Cooke, Peter. (2000). Defending New Zealand: Ramparts on the Sea 1840s-1850s, Parts 1 & 2. Defence of New Zealand Study Group. (Available from or fax +64 4 934 6817)

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