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Godley Heads Defence. WW2. New Zealand

Article about: Hey Guys, At the onset of WW2 New Zealand geared up it's coastal defences. Some where updated from the Russian Crisis from the 1800's and others from WW1. The Germans have a history in the S

  1. #11


    Right guys im off.
    wood is stacked.
    i will take my fishing rod just in case....

  2. #12


    more pics.
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  3. #13


    Great pics! Thanks.
    Had good advice? Saved money? Why not become a Gold Club Member, just hit the green "Join WRF Club" tab at the top of the page and help support the forum!

  4. #14


    you have made me so home sick from these pics , God I miss good old NZ. been living away from her far too long. I'm sure if you jump the fence at night no one will notice, if it already hasn't been done before that is. The DOC has more to worry about like feral cats, plague's of rats and protecting native bird species than a bloke with a metal detector, just make sure you back fill your holes

  5. #15


    Since the earthquakes the main part has been closed off. I did jump the fence and went down into a bunker.
    massive cracks in the floor and walls stopped me from going in too deep.
    lt was very risky and last thing i needed was to be trapped or killed by another
    I think doc wouldnt mind. Although i got told off for being in the fenced off area.
    there is a lot more there but its way too dangerous to get to.
    all i need now is a metal detector.
    the whole hike took about 5 hours and i got sun burnt. Ha ha.
    but i slept well.

  6. #16


    Thanks for sharing, i havent had the pleasure of visiting the south island much and didnt know this place existed, but very cool. regarding the airstrip you should go knock on farmers door and ask to have a look around.

  7. #17


    Hey mate.
    Yeah there are a lot of old ww1 and ww2 defences scattered around the South island.
    There's some old local rumours that they sunk a Japanese sub or a massive log just outside the harbour.
    Probably a whale took a direct hit.....
    I have the location of where the old Air Strip used to be, but there are no markers left.
    It's all dairy farms now.
    I will have to superimpose old maps on current maps to find it.
    Then i will need to get a metal detector and guess likely dumping spots.
    Will be a good adventure.
    Al was telling me about playing in the bunker and air strip as a kid, I need to find old photos or records to get a plan together.

  8. #18


    Hurriedly built in 194142 after the Imperial Japanese Navy's sudden attack on Pearl Harbor, Te Pirita was, at the time of its construction, New Zealand's largest airfield. As Japanese forces advanced through the Pacific during 1942, the threat of an air attack on the North Island grew and in response the New Zealand Government commandeered large tracts of land in the farming district of Te Pirita for use as a secret retreat base, which was intended to be the first in a network of bomber bases to be built in the Canterbury region.

    The airfield was constructed in record time using seconded civilian and New Zealand Armed Forces engineers. Three heavy earth compacted runways up to 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) long were laid in the prevailing wind directions of the region. The runway surfaces were laid with wattle tree seeds for strength while the base was designed to handle large numbers of US Boeing Flying Fortress and Consolidated Liberator bombers.

    The base closed in late 1943 but was held in reserve for the duration of the war. The runways were kept intact and tidy by regular mowing of their unique wattle grass.

    The airbase's aviation fuel bunker was the largest in New Zealand and was located at Bankside, beside the north bank of the Rakaia River next to the Main South Line Railway. Well camouflaged by pine trees, the inground, steel roofed cylindrical concrete bunker was served by a hidden rail siding. The fuel capacity was estimated at 700,000 imperial gallons. The bunker also served the nearby and more visible RNZAF Norwood satellite airbase.

    Eventually the airfield was abandoned and left to return to nature. The wattle grass soon grew into bushes and then into full size trees. This allowed the airfield site to be easily spotted from the air as late as 2006 with perfect runway layouts created by the overgrowth. Intensive sheep farming returned to the region and most traces of the base began to disappear. In the early 21st century a dairy boom took over most of the flat mid-Canterbury region including Te Pirita. By late 2010, three large rotary method dairy farms sat over the site of the airbase and most of the wattle tree-sown runways finally vanished, although the general layout of the runways are still vaguely visible.[3]

    After years hidden in a small stand of its camouflage pines, and after years of use as a local rubbish dump, the bunker site has been completely cleaned up, and exposed. The trees were cut down in 2008 and the local council has plans to turn the huge bunker into a historic site with interpretation and information boards detailing Te Pirita airbase's existence during World War II.

  9. #19


    there is only a little bit of the airfield still showing on Google maps
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Te Pirita air strip.JPG  

  10. #20


    Great pics and wow such great scenery

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