Friday, June 8, 2012

Let me tell you a story...*

At the base of Albert Park, in the middle of Auckland's bustling metropolis is a rather unassuming white metal door set in a wall of stone. I've managed to catch a rare break in the weather and although the walk is less than 2 minutes from my office I can't help but feel I've made a poor choice by leaving my jacket at work when the wind starts gusting up the funnel that is Kitchner Street.

Four white bollards greet me like soldiers at attention linked with a chain that keeps me from the door. The irony is not lost on me as I stand on the opposite side of the road appreciating this rather innocuous site because, dear reader, this humble white door has a rather large secret.

In fact this door leads to a network of man-made tunnels totaling nearly 3.5kms built during the War to shelter over 20,000 Aucklander's in the event of an air-raid. 

As a native Aucklander I totally geeked out was caught off guard when my friends fiancĂ©, a locksmith by trade, dropped this little chestnut into conversation over drinks last night. I mean, I work just around the corner from this place, do laps of the park at lunch, how could I have been completely unaware of the Tardis that lurked beneath?!?

Clearly, Matt's work stories are far superior to mine and he explained that at the end of the war (26 February 1946 to be precise) with the tunnels unused and maintenance a hefty burden on a post war economy, the tunnels were sealed, entrances buried, and so they remain to this day...kind of. 

Matt was called in to unlock entrance number 6 (above), one of the last remaining access ways into this forgotten network. 

To me, this is the stuff adventures are made of. There's a little Indiana Jones inside of me screaming to throw caution to the rediscover long-forgotten places and flee from giant boulders (and to look as great as Lara Croft while doing so...I should add). Hence why I was raving about this find when I arrived into work this morning which amused my workmates to no end. 

There's also a part of me that finds satisfaction in discovering something entirely new and unimaginably cool historically significant for Aucklander's. Let's face it...we need all the help we can get. 

Geek-out - Jacq

Want to know more? Check out these sites: 

* Disclaimer - Yes...I really am this geeky in real life...sorry to those of you expecting a REAL story

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