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AMMUNITION DISCOVERED

Explosive ammunition has been discovered and removed from a former defence force site in Auckland.

A New Zealand Defence Force spokeswoman said staff had recently visited the site of the former Hobsonville base at Bomb Point in West Auckland. Explosive and non-explosive items were located in the area and have since been removed for scrap or destroyed by controlled explosion.

Bomb Point – part of the former Hobsonville Air Base – was once used for ammunition storage purposes while the base was active, a NZDF spokesperson said. It started out in the late 1920s as a seaplane station. Until the 1960s, the Air Force flying boats would land in the nearby water and ‘drive up’ onto the land where hangars were on the water’s edge, the spokesperson said. At Bomb Point, old empty ammunition storage bunkers remain.

“Over many decades these would have stored various weapons and pyrotechnics used by aircraft based at Hobsonville, and also the nearby Whenuapai Air Base,” the spokesperson said.

“At the time this was a helicopter base, examples would include ammunition for the helicopter’s machine gun, and pyrotechnics such as flares.”

In 2003, the land at the former air base was sold to a private company, the spokesperson said. Before the sale, a “methodical due diligence” process was undertaken to assess the risk of old ammunition. It included a physical survey and ground search of the area. “All resulting information was made available to the private company which took ownership of the land. “However, in a facility that was used back as far as the 1920s, there is always some possibility that a remnant of some historic munitions could be found.”

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