Campaign to re-open Albert Park tunnels
Sun, 16 Sep 2012 6:29p.m.
By Jenny Suo
Imagine a museum, glowworm cave and even black-water rafting, all under Auckland's CBD.
It's the dream of one man and it has gained support from thousands of people in just a few days’ time. But can it really happen?
When it comes to getaways in Auckland’s city centre, Albert Park has never been a secret. But for 70 years, something has been hidden underneath.
“These tunnels were built for 22,000 people as an air-raid shelter in case there was an air-raid from the Japanese in 1942,” says tunnel campaigner Bill Reid.
There are 3.5 kilometres of tunnels under Albert Park. It took 114 men just eight months to dig out.
But after the war, they were sealed with more than 8 million clay blocks to ensure the tunnels wouldn't collapse.
Mr Reid has dug out a small portion of one of the tunnels, but wants the Council to re-open the rest, beginning with just one section for a museum and walk-way.
“My life-long plan since 1986 is to get these tunnels open to the public of Auckland, tourists, and I'd like the descendants of the 114 tunnellers to talk into history.”
A Facebook page started recently has already gained support from more than 6000 people. There's also backing from an anonymous businessman who believes the tunnels can be developed into a cave for glowworms and even black-water rafting.
Auckland Council says given the historical value, there could be merit in exploring a partial opening of the tunnels for, say, a visitor centre. The Council says the next step is for Mr Reid to present his proposal to councillors and it will help him with his presentation.
“It’s just a hidden, historical event that must happen,” says Mr Reid. “It should happen. It should have happened a long time ago.”
And after more than 30 years of campaigning, he hopes the piece of wartime history won’t stay hidden for much longer.
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22/02/2013 9:05:09 p.m.
Mickey 2 wrote:
To MickeyAucklanders are bailing out Christchurch.Aucklanders should be able to put a few of our tax dollars into something Aucklanders would like without a squeal from you lot.The Albert Park tunnels could be a successful venture.
17/09/2012 9:25:22 a.m.
Good idea but make it an Company to do it not Rate Payers money . sell shares in the Company if it's viable people will buy & take the risk . No buyers Risk too high . Simple put your own money up not the Rate payers money .
16/09/2012 11:00:10 p.m.
Yeah lets dig tunnels under a park!!! There were hundreds of people without homes, sleeping in parks and cars because they lost it all in one day! Yes I am talking about CHCH! How about you send that guy thats digging out tunnel and give him tools and ask him to save one family next winter and build them a house. When are you people going to realise there are priorities elsewere??? Aside CHCH there are thousands of hungry kids and homeless people and some of them did not have a choice of life. It just amazes me the sincere stupidity to the point of wanting me to scream! Spending Kiwis tax money on that is pointless. SOOOOOOOO sit down and think hard how cool tourist attraction would be to dig out a tunnel! Cant be that hard eh?!?!?
16/09/2012 8:28:41 p.m.
Margaret rolleston wrote:
Excellent idea. You know that tourism is the new gold, and for every unique atraction that NZ has to offer has to be good. May the council think outside the square and develope this unique site.
16/09/2012 7:54:13 p.m.
What a fantastic opportunity for the city of Auckland to give residents and tourists alike an insight into our history!
I visited Exeter in 2010 - a city in the south of England that has tunnels under its cbd that were developed for the exact same thing. They were eerie, exciting and full of history - a wonderful thing to visit fom a tourist point of vie.
I hope the council goes for it!
16/09/2012 7:29:49 p.m.
stuart pooley wrote:
yes open up the tunnels it apart of history wanting to be explord and good for the younger generation to learn about
16/09/2012 7:27:39 p.m.
What a fantastic idea. I hope this man achieves it.
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