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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. #1

    Default Godley Heads Defence. WW2. New Zealand

    Hey Guys,

    At the onset of WW2 New Zealand geared up it's coastal defences.
    Some were updated from the Russian Crisis from the 1800's and others from WW1.
    The Germans have a history in the South Pacific.
    New Zealand captured German Samoa on 29th of August 1914.
    Of course later there was a threat from Japan.
    A lot of the old American Bomber and fighter air strips are gone now, but quite a bit of the coastal defence is still there.
    Here are some old photos of Godley heads, Christchurch, New Zealand.
    I will be going back tomorrow to take some more close ups and better photos.
    It has been closed off since the 2010 and 2011 Christchurch earth quakes.
    I used to come here a lot as a teen.
    We used to get up to no good in the tunnels and bunkers.
    There was a escape tunnel that came out from deep under ground.
    About 50m deep. Most of where it lead had been long blocked off.
    but you could climb under the concrete cap and go down the ladder.
    More photos to come, if I can get in there.
    I also have 9m3 of blue gum wood to stack tomorrow. busy day.
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    Last edited by Danger; 01-08-2015 at 02:46 AM.

  2. #2


    And just around the corner is Ripapa Island.

    Ripapa Island, (also known locally as Ripa Island) just off the shore of Lyttelton Harbour (Whakaraupo) has played many roles in the history of New Zealand. The island initially played a key role in an internal struggle for the south island Ngāi Tahu tribe in the early 19th Century. In the late 19th century the island was used as a quarantine station for ships arriving from Britain, though 1880 saw the use of the quarantine buildings as a prison, notably for members of the Parihaka Māori settlement in Taranaki during its passive resistance campaign against the surveying and selling of its land by the government. The quarantine buildings were dismantled when the Island was incorporated into the coastal defence scheme.

    Fort Jervois was built on Ripapa as one of the four defences set up in World War I to protect Lyttelton Harbour, and as part of the nationwide coastal defences. The walled fort that had been built in 1886 had been re-militarised as a result of a perceived Russian scare and is the most complete Russian scare fort left in New Zealand. The fort was occupied by the New Zealand army from the Russian scare till the end of World War I and was again garrisoned during World War II. Fort Jervois housed some prisoners of war during WWI including Felix von Luckner.

    The fort is currently the home of two extremely rare guns. One is a BL 8 inch gun (one of only 12 left in the world), which is still in working order, though there are no shells left for such a weapon. It also holds a smaller BL 6 inch gun. However, at the first test shot the recoil system failed, with the result that the barrel cracked and most of the rest of the gun was damaged and was returned to England for repairs. A test fire in 1939 cracked the mounting. Though these are the only two guns currently in place at Fort Jervois, there are emplacements for another two guns. These two guns are on the island but have been partially destroyed.

    The island has been under the control of the Department of Conservation since 1990. Fort Jervois is classed as a Category I historic place by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust, and has been considered "actively managed" by Canterbury Conservancy. Future plans have been made to return the island to how it was during the Second World War.

    The June 2011 Christchurch earthquake damaged Fort Jervois and it is now closed. Once some remedial repairs are carried out, it may be opened to restricted access.
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  3. #3


    That looks like a very cool place to spend the day at. Thanks for those pic's

    Semper Fi

  4. #4


    Thanks mate,
    I used to go camping next to the island as a kid and up to even now.
    There are lots of little bunkers, pill boxes, from both wars and even some earlier.
    It's also a great crabbing spot just of the side of the island.
    And oysters.

  5. #5


    Quote by Danger View Post
    It's also a great crabbing spot just of the side of the island.
    And oysters.
    You just added the cherry to the sundae!!!
    That is some beautiful looking country you have down there.

  6. #6


    Cheers mate.
    Yeah NZ is a great place to live.


  7. #7


    Looks an interesting place, I can see the appeal of such for camping out, very cool.


    Whatever its just an opinion.

  8. #8


    Very cool mate.
    Very similar tot he ones up on North Head in Auckland and a couple more out on the islands around Auckland Hbr
    ever been over the area with a metal detector ??

  9. #9


    funny you should ask.
    I've been thinking about it.
    Not sure if anyone has???
    I had a dream about it the other day funny enough, must be from all the threads I've been looking at.... ha ha.
    DOC might have a go if they catch me.....?
    I really wanted to look over an old ww2 American bomber strip but it's completely gone now.
    2009 it was turned into a dairy farm.
    I bet they dumped a whole lot of stuff as they left.

  10. #10


    This one.

    Te Pirita Aerodrome has now been completely destroyed to make way for intensive dairy production. It is no longer visible from the air. The revetments and dispersal areas inside the plantation have also been destroyed with the felling of the plantation.

    I'm too late.
    I have been looking for it for a few years.
    only once it was destroyed information came up.
    i always thought it was next to the Rakaia bridge, but it was next to a small river before rakaia.
    you can see the pill box covering the only road in and out to the air strip.

    also I've added the fuel dump.
    which got turned into a real dump after the war and then has just been cleared out.
    No 16 Reserve Aviation Fuel Depot (AR16) RNZAF (Bankside)
    750,000 Gallons (3.375 million litres) for US bomber base at Te Pirita

    I'm also adding another set of pics from the same area as godley heads. Mt pleasant.
    these are second line of defense, this kind of stuff is every where.
    This is what I grew up around.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture aa_bty(overview)01.jpg   aa_bty_cp01.jpg  

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