Spotlight on local heritage

The talk will throw light on the fortifications that lined the coastline between North Shore and Whangaparāoa. Photo, National Museum of the Royal NZ Navy. Crown Copyright 1959.

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While New Zealanders are currently using masks and sanitiser to fortify themselves against the spread of Covid-19, earlier generations of Aucklanders were also facing threats but responding with quite different fortifications.

As part of the Auckland Heritage Festival, which runs from September 26 to October 11, a researcher with the Royal New Zealand Navy National Museum will give a talk at Whangaparāoa Library about the coastal defences of the North Shore and Whangaparāoa.

Michael Wynd’s talk is free and will be held on Saturday, September 26, at 2pm.

“From the 1880s to the 1950s there were coastal defences erected along the coastline from Devonport to Whangaparāoa,” Michael says. “These were built in response to perceived threats from Imperial Russia in the 19th Century and Japan in the World War II. The defences included minefields, spar-torpedo boats, and coastal artillery of all types and sizes.”

Michael’s presentation will provide a broad overview of the coastal defences in the region and conclude with a focus on the defences constructed at Whangaparāoa.

The talk is one of several Heritage Festival events that will be held on the Hibiscus Coast.

Organisers say that Covid-19 protocols at the prevailing alert level will be followed, including any limits on mass gatherings. If a 10-person mass gathering limit remains in place, every endeavour will be made to move events online.

The Silverdale Pioneer Village will host a talk in the old chapel at the village on ‘Eccentric and Notorious People and Events of early Silverdale’ on September 26, from 11am to noon.

Local historian Robin Grover, who is the author of Makers of the Wade and a former president of the Silverdale and Districts Historical Society, will be the presenter. A gold coin donation will be appreciated and bookings are essential. email or phone Sue, 021 630 520.

On Sunday September 27, Whangaparāoa Library hosts a talk on Tiritiri Matangi Island – 600 years of history from Māori settlement to farming, lighthouse construction, WWII military occupation, and a conservation success story of international significance.

For the full festival programme, visit

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