There is now no doubt that there is hidden tunnels/complex's under North Head. It has been confirmed without doubt by the Navy!
Martin Butler has updated his site and to ensure you get to read it, I have permission from him to publish it here.
He informs me that 2016 is the 100th year anniversary that Boeing first flew these aircraft, so it really will be fitting if by chance they are found!
He does make a mention in this article, but he has only given a small 'slice' of the interview where the Navy revealed much more.
Roll on 2016... It will be an interesting year!
Update 30 December 2015
It has been an interesting year for the continued ‘Tunnel Vision’ investigation into the disappearance of the first Boeing aircraft (ever made) and the evidence linking these aircraft with a hidden/sealed tunnel complex at Maungauika/North Head.
2012 -14 saw extensive Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) investigation and an historical review of Maungauika/North Head’s function during World War Two. This resulted in a number of photographic and GPR anomalies being identified. The application for archaeological investigation to the Historic Places Trust depended upon iwi consultation and agreement with them as the Government was to return this land in 2015.
By mid 2015 the land transfer of Maungauika/North Head was completed. This process highlighted a number of questions in regard to the governance and responsibility for the maintenance of this significant historical and cultural reserve. It was decided that day to day maintenance would transition from DOC to the Auckland City Council in 2016 and come under the Auckland City Council ‘Maunga Authority’. As at December 2015 the haggling continues in regard to the amount of money that DOC will have to pay the Maunga Authority for the outstanding (deferred) maintenance. In regard to the Governance issue of Maungauika/North Head, as seven Iwi own the land, protocols need to be established for control of the Maunga. It is hoped that this issue will be resolved early 2016.
While these issues played out in the background during 2015 there was also the question of whether explosive ordnance was left behind in sealed tunnels at Maungauika/North Head after World War Two. The evidence in this regard is provided in the tab entitled “Explosive Update’. Therefore, I found myself duty bound to ensure that all parties involved were aware of this possibility. This information was provided to Iwi during the consultation process (2014), and delivered to the Maunga Authority on 2 March 2015, the Auckland City Council Reserves Team on 10 April 2015 and to DOC on 27 May 2015.
On 12 August 2015 Mike Wesley-Smith (M-TV3 Story) interviewed Deputy Head of Navy Commodore Dean McDougall (D). He was the last commander of the Navy training school at the summit of Maungauika/North Head between 1993-96. These are some of his statements:
6.M Right so the Defence force has acknowledged there are sealed tunnels – how many ball park, is there a huge sealed tunnel complex?
D Look the tunnel complex up there is quite extensive and it’s from my knowledge there is three sealed compartments off the tunnels but they were all tested.
7.M How large would those spaces be?
D Well if you go into the tunnels now that gives you a good idea, they’re about six foot high and some of the spaces are probably about the size of this room here, so it was a great network, there were a lot of soldiers working up there at the time, but I’m sorry I can’t tell you there is something there.
9.M Can you recall where those sealed tunnels were generally located?
D They’re actually on both sides of the hill, both going towards Fort Takapuna and going out to the harbour.
Significantly, since this interview the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) have confirmed 'officially' that sealed tunnels exist at Maungauika/North Head. This position also endorses a letter to the Devonport Borough Council by Navy Commodore Hunter in January 1989 (see Explosive Update). As such this interview is a major breakthrough and validates many eye-witness accounts and the conclusions reached in the book ‘Tunnel Vision Refocused’. For various reasons I will not release the full transcript and interview for the time being.
In the later part of 2015 two notable meetings took place. The first was with Sir Peter Jackson on 30 September 2015. Peter had purchased one of the first Boeing aircraft engines from documentary filmmaker John Earnshaw many years before and has been following the progress of the ‘TunnelVision’ investigation. Peter kindly wrote some letters of support to local Iwi and Auckland Council.
The second meeting was with New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF). After numerous questions resulting from the TV3 Story Interview on 12 August 2015, NZDF appointed a liaison officer to deal with the matter. A meeting took place in Wellington on 16 December 2015. Without getting specific at this stage, the good news is that the military maintain there are no explosives underground at Maungauika/North Head and have agreed to a number of concessions that will assist with the continued Tunnel Vision investigation.
As 2015 draws to a close we are another step closer to solving the mystery of what happened to the first Boeing aircraft. If they are not found inside the sealed tunnels we can conclude that they were indeed destroyed. Likewise, if a search of the sealed tunnels reveals no explosives, then the military position that all munitions were removed will be validated. Either way we are better off knowing the answers to both these questions
Should entry to the sealed tunnels be approved by the Iwi landowners in 2016, strict Health and Safety protocols have been established. Procedures for Confined Space Entry and Gas Testing will also comply with Department of Labour requirements. As a “Trust but Verify” precaution, the ‘Tunnel Vision’ entry team will comprise specialist personnel from a company qualified to provide “unexploded ordnance safeguarding”. The initial task will be to fully map the sealed tunnel complex at Maungauika/North Head and ensure all anomalies are resolved.
So 2015 wasn’t so bad! We have managed to confirm the presence of sealed tunnels without digging. The Iwi land owners have indicated they will review the information in the new year. The military have indicated a degree of co-operation for 2016.
Wishing you all the very best for 2016. It is stacking up to be a definitive year for the Tunnel Vision Investigation. Thank you for your support and please encourage others to follow this project.
Post by Dave Homewood on Jan 9, 2016 15:47:13 GMT 12
So... if the North Head site has been handed over to private hands (a Maori iwi group) in some sort of settlement, I guess that completely scotches those rumours that the hill is full of unstable explosives that cannot be touched and tampered with. Surely NZDF and common sense would never allow a volatile weapons storage area to be handed over to private ownership.
In response to your post, I thought it appropriate to get Martin to answer this, and although he doesn't wish to get involved as he has enough to do, he provided me with this written response as it is a complex issue and I have a habit of remembering what people say incorrectly (getting older and memory not so good... too much on my mind!):
I fully agree that no one would consider the military so irresponsible to have left decaying ammunition in what is now an historic reserve. Indeed they have recently restated the same and I fully respect their position. However, the basis of that statement needs to be fully qualified and I am working with them in this regard. Unfortunately, there are statements from ex-Minister of Defence Tizard and a number of eye-witness accounts that provide contrary evidence. At the moment with the information available and with consideration to the 'Precautionary Principle' the question is - would you (and the public) consider it a responsible precaution, to having qualified munitions experts on your tunnel entry team? As stated in my opinion the safe and logical approach is to surely "trust but verify". It may also interest some that there are only 2 sites of roughly 50 handed back to Iwi that have a rider - where the Government retains full liability. Those two areas are Maungauika/North Head and Rangitoto. Martin
In Martin's last sentence, one would have to ask ones-self, why would that be? Gavin
Post by Dave Homewood on Jan 9, 2016 19:03:59 GMT 12
Hmmm, interesting. If anyone is thinking of going in there, then certainly having experts in old explosives on the team is a must, just in case. In fact sending in bomb robots or UAV drones first would be a sensible option too.
Personally I think special places like North Head and Rangitoto should have been retained in the ownership of all the people of New Zealand, but that is another issue.
FWIW, as I may have missed it (and at the risk of asking the obvious), presumably Archives NZ (as 'Designated Keepers of Public Record') have been contacted to see the depth of information on the records they hold? At last check there were 739 of these available for public perusal.
I think if I was the person with the job of checking it out, it would be a job I would have to do myself as I would presumably know where to tread carefully. A dog would not know this and would just rush in. If it did then set ammo off, according to the amount that could be there - if you were anywhere close to that hill, you are going to die anyway, so better to take the risk of checking it out yourself. Martin has all the ammunition handling qualifications and has the World's leading bomb/ammo disposal experts jacked up if and when he is allowed in. I've asked Martin to let me know when he goes in so that I can make sure I stay home in Hastings!!!
Post by Dave Homewood on Jan 10, 2016 21:40:09 GMT 12
Yeah true, those dogs in the airports do tend to jump all over things in their work. Some airports do have those bomb sniffing wands they wave over your clothes, I wonder if that sort of technology might be any use.
Post by Dave Homewood on Oct 15, 2017 16:31:14 GMT 12
I just happened onto this by chance but some here may be interested:
From the AUCKLAND STAR, VOLUME LVIII, ISSUE 136, 11 JUNE 1927
DOESN'T REALLY EXIST.
EXPLOSIVES IN THE FORTS.
MISHAP ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE.
Irresponsible rumours about Devonport slumbering on top of a volcano, and about the Government declining to take any interest in the "peril" were exploded this morning by a visit of inspection paid to the ''volcanoes" and by a letter received by the Devonport Borough Council from the Minister of Defence. The Minister says the chief inspector of explosives (Mr. Butcher) was sent up specially to investigate, and he had gone into the whole matter of storing explosives in the borough, his report being that the new storage place at Narrow Neck "did not constitute any undue hazard to the borough."
Munitions of war for the Navy are stored at the fort on Mount Victoria and at Fort Takapuna at Narrow Neck. This morning a visit of inspection was made by Commodore Swabey, of H.M.S. Diomede, who had with him two base officers (Captain Bradley and Lieut. Lingard), Mr. Alex Harris, M.P. for Waitemata, the Mayor of Devonport (Mr. E. Aldridge), Mr. H. A. Campbell, member of the council, who also happens to have special knowledge of these matters, having been a warrant officer in the Royal Navy, and the town clerk and borough engineer.
Both forts were visited, and the borough representatives were not only shown everything, but had everything explained most fully. To sum up their conclusions, they were quite satisfied the borough was not running any undue risk. The munitions consist mainly of shells for the big guns, and, though they represent many tons of cordite, lyddite and gun cotton, all the shells are innocuous, and a mishap is practically an impossibility, the only thing to be feared being if a shell were dropped into one of the arsenals from an enemy aeroplane a possibility that is so remote that Devonport will no doubt slumber peacefully o' nights for the future, or at any rate until the next war breaks out. No dynamite, gelignite or blasting powder is stored at either depot.
Spic and Span. First of all the party went over the fort at Narrow Neck. Both there and at Mount Victoria the civilians were struck with the immense strength of the concrete chambers in which the shells were stored, with the neatness of everything, and the scrupulous cleanliness. "We were assured," said Mr. Aldridge this morning to a "Star" reporter, "that there was no danger whatever of an explosion among the shells. Even if dropped from the top of a house, they would not explode. The vital part of a shell is the detonator, and these are kept stored far away from the shells. The actual shells themselves are practically innocuous — dead. Without the detonators and caps, there can be no explosion of the shell, and from what we saw of the way the shells are stored we were quite satisfied with the statements made that the risk of an explosion was practically nil."
"Fire? No, there is no danger whatever. There is not a speck of anything about the arsenals that could catch tire, and, as a matter of fact, the kinds of explosives that are stored there would, if invited, simply burn and not explode. They do not explode except by tremendous concussion.
"At Mount Victoria we were struck by the same remarkably good order, the cleanliness and the signs of careful supervision — it was just what one would expect from the Navy.
"We made particular inquiries as to the danger when these explosives were being carted through the streets of the borough, and were assured that the risk was negligible. As a matter of fact all these shells are freighted out from the Old Country, handled on the wharves, and carted through the streets, showing that they are not regarded as being dangerous in themselves.
All Over the World. Similar shells are carted through Queen Street, Auckland, when being transported to the camp at Ngaruawahia. We were informed that shells were carted through the streets of London with the same impunity. Every arsenal in the world stores shells in the same way as they are stored at the Devonport forts.
"In actual practice both the Mount Victoria and the Narrow Neck forts are inspected every day, in addition to which the whole stock is gone over every six months by the explosives inspector, who tests samples of all munitions in stock.
"In the course of discussion we learned the rather interesting fact that there is really less risk with shells stored in an arsenal than with shells on board ship. As in an arsenal there is an entire absence of motion, such as may be experienced in a storm at sea.
"I may say that the Borough Council has not been blind to the presence of these explosives in the borough, and for some considerable time has been in correspondence with the Government over the matter. The visit to the forts this morning with the Naval representatives. taken in conjunction with the letter we have received from the Minister of Defence, has convinced me that the borough is not running any undue risk from the fact that these explosives are stored at the forts. The situation is further improved by the fact that the arsenal at Mount Victoria will be completely evacuated at an early date, when it is hoped that the whole of Mount Victoria will be again vested in the borough as a public domain."
All this talk of old ammunition and being stored within Auckland reminds me of 6million or so rounds of ammunition stored at CAC Mt Eden during the late 1950's through into the sixties. Stored right beside the high fence beside the prison. Every calibre from 9mm, .45, .303, .50 through to 6pound anti-tank. It was all dismantled to reclaim the brass, the .303 ammo. was put through a fire as there was no safe way of stripping the cartridge. I still have a few rounds of .50 and .45 pistol ammo.
Post by Dave Homewood on May 18, 2018 20:05:33 GMT 12
Gavin Grimmer emailed this earlier:
Watch TV3 Newshub Nation this Saturday and/or Sunday morning as Mike Wesley-Smith is doing a program on North Head...not sure of the time... 9.00am...or 10am? Sunday is a repeat of Saturday's program in case you miss it.