29 October 2013
Yesterday I paid a visit to Wright's Hill Fortress in Karori for the first time in around 10 years. To be precise, I've been to Wright's Hill many times in the past decade, but I'd not been back to revisit the tunnels underneath the hilltop that link together the various gun emplacements and supporting facilities. The fortress was designed to be a key factor in Wellington's naval defences, with huge 9.2 inch guns overseeing the whole harbour and beyond thanks to their 18-mile (29km) firing range. Construction started in March 1942 but by the time the guns were installed in 1944 the situation in the Pacific theatre had improved so considerably that the order for the site's third gun was cancelled. The fortress guns were only fired once in a 1946 test exercise, and in the 1960s the site fell into disrepair. Since 1989 locals have been restoring the fortress, and it now opens for public viewing on four public holidays per year.