Places or Organisation: Fort Takapuna, Narrow Neck
Looking north from the site of Fort Takapuna, circa 1913.
Also Known AsFort CautleyO Peretu
Geotag The grounds of Fort Takapuna with former navy buildings (right). Streetview looking north from Vauxhall Road.
Located south of Narrow Neck beach, Fort Takapuna is an inspirational place for us as we commemorate one hundred years since the start of the First World War. The Fort has a rich military history which stretches back to the 19th century and continues to this day.
Fort Takapuna was the training ground which prepared young men for the impending First World War. The photograph below shows the fort a year before the war broke out. Many of those pictured are likely to have been among the 14,000 New Zealanders who enlisted during the first week of the war.
Artillery men watching the effect of a six-inch shell fired from Fort Takapuna across Rangitito Channel, 1913 (Sir George Grey Collections, Auckland Libraries)
It’s hard to imagine that a whole community of military personnel once occupied this now Recreational Reserve during and after the Second World War. Today a few ranges of barracks blocks and the Guard House remain as a reminder of the once lively fortress.
The Fort is part of a historic reserve along the coastal strip and cliffs which includes heritage features such as the Gun Battery and former Officers Mess buildings. The rugged outline of a concrete pillbox (machine-gun emplacement) dating from 1942 remains can also be seen along the reserve.
Article by Richard Bland, Heritage Assest Adviser, Auckland Council.