At the entrance to Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour all shipping must pass North Head, an extinct volcanic cone with historical importance to Maori and European settlers alike.
Before European settlers arrived this prominent headland (with 360 degree views of every navigable channel leading to the harbour) was occupied by generations of Maori who had a settlement at the base of the hill, but did not appear to have constructed a fortified Pa on the site. Later, after European settlement in the nineteenth century, fortifications were built on the headland as part of a network of similar fortifications on other high points to guard against the perceived threat of a Russian invasion. These fortifications were further enhanced prior to and during the Second World War, the legacy of which is a maze of tunnels and deserted gun sites spread around the headland. North Head is now a public reserve administered by the Department of Conservation.
The images here show a sample of the views one gets when exploring the paths and tunnels in the reserve.