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Stony Batter

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Stony Batter is a privately-owned farm and vineyard at the northeastern corner of the island. But the name is more widely associated with an extraordinary complex of tunnels connecting defensive gun emplacements built during World War II and which are now part of a Department of Conservation reserve - see DOC page for Stony Batter Historic Reserve.

The gun emplacments are one of the island's most famous tourist attractions. The guns were 9.2inch, had ranges of more than 30km and were the largest New Zealand had ever seen. But only two of the three guns planned for the emplacement were installed and, in fact, were never manned. The guns were only fired once - in 1951 during a training exercise. By the early 1960s it was an abandoned site.

These days Stony Batter is a Category 1 site listed by the Historic Places Trust. Here is a piece on Stony Batter on the trust's website.

Stony Batter is also famed for its widespread andecite rocks and boulders.

In an extensive piece, Wikipedia says: "Stony Batter was part of a counter bombardment battery system progressively being installed in the Hauraki Gulf from the 1930s. Composed of various gun batteries, such as at Whangaparaoa, Motutapu Island and at Stony Batter, as well as having observation posts such at Rangitoto Island (command post) and Tiritiri Matangi Island, it was supposed to engage enemy naval forces entering the inner gulf. Ranges would have been to far beyond the line of sight (over 30 km, thus the need for a complex set of observation points and communication lines), as well as at least initially beyond the range of most enemy ships ability to retaliate."

The tunnels are currently closed (August 23, 2007) after a dispute arose between the volunteer-staffed Stony Batter Protection and Restoration Society and the Department of Conservation.


In The Tunnels