This is an ancient trench directly through the top of the Mt. Wellington volcanic cone crest. Although officially referred to as a "defensive trench", for curtailing the attack of invaders, it is absolutely impossible that it could ever have worked effectively in any such role. Let's consider its attributes:

  1. The trench is really quite small in terms of its actual width and depth. Although a foot bridge has been placed within the trench to assist people walking around the summit crest, a five year old child could jump over the trench proper. It has no attributes akin to any known defensive trench at a true fortress.

  2. The trench faces the wrong way and would simply provide a corridor into the inner cone area where the defenders are, hypothetically, supposed to be ensconced to ward off attacks.

  3. For the trench to function in some defensive capacity, all parties would be required to play by pre-set rules. Perhaps the defenders would have set up sign-posts, suggesting, 'attackers, please approach from this direction' and 'defenders, please stand and do battle here'. Any attacker not using the crest pathway, but walking around the defensive trench, could be labelled a "dirty rotten cheat" and subsequently disqualified, then kicked out of the battle by the referee. As ludicrous and silly as this sounds, it's the only way this trench could work in any defensive capacity.

The suggestion by our archaeologists that this excavation somehow functioned as a "defensive trench" is but a small example of the kind of codswallop they continue to force-feed us and expect a compliant, gullible public to digest without complaint. So let's see what the crest trench was actually made for, at exactly that position within the vast area of the Mt. Wellington crest:


Some years ago Auckland historian and author, Andrew Adams of Howick suburb found a very significant engineer's report tucked between pages of an old volume at Howick Public Library. It would appear that another researcher, studying the history of the British redoubt fort atop Stockade Hill, had left an original British Engineer's Corp. report in the book. Andrew was surprised and delighted to find and read the report, written in the mid-nineteenth century. It gave an account of how the British engineers were obliged to remove standing stones from the crown of Stockade Hill in order to dig the steep defensive trenches and form the embankments of the redoubt. Andrew alerted the librarian about the precious papers left in the book and suggested that they needed to be placed into the security of the National Archives for continued public availability.

Some years later I accompanied Andrew to the spot on Stockade Hill where the marker stones had been found 150-years earlier and where the remains of the old British redoubt still exists. As I looked towards Mt. Wellington, five mile to the west of Stockade Hill, I was struck by the vivid manner in which the crest trench was so conspicuously in evidence. I later tested the alignment, using my theodolite and theorised that the crest trench had probably marked the equinoctial setting sun, observable from the marker stones atop Stockade Hill. This theory was tested at the next equinox and proved to be absolutely valid.

Left: Mt. Wellington, an extinct volcano situated 5-miles west of Stockade Hill in Howick, from whence this photo was taken. The crest trench is highly visible and represents a vivid and conspicuous alignment marker from the position of the former standing stones atop Stockade Hill.

Right: A photo taken from the trench in Mt. Wellington's crest and, again looking towards the west. The high hill dominating the skyline is Mt. Albert, on top of which an original, ancient stone marker still stands beside the modern day trig.

From the observation position, once marked by standing stones, atop Stockade Hill the sun is seen to descend towards the Mt. Wellington crest trench on the day of the equinox.

From the Stockade Hill observation position at the dates of the vernal and autumn equinoxes and no other days during the year, the bottom of the setting sun orb will be seen to touch the Mt. Wellington crest trench before slipping diagonally to the left and disappearing into the mountain. In the year 2002 we decided to formally reopen recognition of this dynamic, ancient equinox alignment and pay homage to its Patu-paiarehe builders, who were in New Zealand for thousands of years before the coming of the Maori warriors. Hamilton piper, Bryan Mitchell, piped the sun on its journey down to nestle into the Mt. Wellington trench and re-illuminate the former volcano in fiery splendour.

Right: This stone has, apparently, been recorded to be atop Mt. Albert throughout the entirety of the colonial era spanning the last 200-years. In more recent decades concrete was poured around its sitting position and a modern trig erected nearby. Unfortunately, a brass plaque, attached some years ago to the stone, has been stolen recently, cracking the ancient marker in the process of its brutal and violent removal.

Left: The author stands by the large stone with some of the high Auckland isthmus hills or distant mountains seen in the background. The panoramic vista through 360-degrees includes Mt Wellington, with its crest trench conspicuously in full view.

The selfsame crest trench on Mt. Wellington, which is viewable from Stockade hill in Howick suburb, is also easily seen from the marker stone position atop Mt. Albert. On the mornings of the vernal or autumn equinoxes the sun is seen to rise from Mt. Wellington's crest trench position. The distant Coromandel Ranges sit just slightly higher than the crest trench when one is standing fully erect atop Mt. Albert, but the trench represents the position of "first glint" of the sun on the equinox days. Ancient calendars could, accordingly, be kept fully accurate with ease by that reliable, reoccurring biannual solar event. A Titirangi based professional surveyor, Mr Surman, has tested the 11.5-mile (18.5 kilometres) long alignment with state-of-the-art equipment and concluded that the degree of offline error over that distance is less than 1-second of arc... less than 100 feet. The Mt. Albert to Mt. Wellington segment of the Auckland Isthmus equinox alignment was first noticed by a former colleague, over 25-years ago. He, unfortunately, has chosen to not make the greater New Zealand public privy to this information, by providing a printed or Internet publication.


A Maori name for Mt. Wellington is Maungarei, which means "the watchful mountain". Many of these New Zealand Maori names were derived from the earlier Patu-paiarehe people, who taught Maori a wide variety of arts, including those of moko (facial tattooing) and haka (dance). The "watchful mountain" title, handed down in oral tradition, is certainly very descriptive of Mt. Wellington, which is centrally positioned to act as a hub for alignments within the Auckland Isthmus or a distribution and reference point for surveying alignments to far-flung locations like the Bombay Hill region. The ultimate and most conspicuous target from Mt. Wellington southward was across Bombay Hill to the highest point of Mt. William (Puketutu) 23-miles (37-kilometres) distant. Alternatively, the southward alignment from Stockade Hill in Howick crossed Pukekiwiriki Hill to resolve upon He Tohu Kairuri (B2D4) Hill in the Mt. William complex. From Mt. Albert's summit stone marker the southward alignment ran to the tor mound atop Bombay Hill then onward to the pointed top of He Tohu Kairuri (B2D4) Hill.

As one approaches Mt. Wellington from the south, its modern day trig is centrally conspicuous. It's also easy to detect that the modern trig sits atop an ancient mound pimple, which constituted the purpose built position of the original Patu-paiarehe trig from, conceivably, thousands of years ago.

The modern trig tower on Mt. Wellington, sitting atop an ancient mound that was purpose built to serve the same purpose thousands of years ago.

One of the many "sighting pits" used by the ancient Patu-paiarehe people for surveying and overland alignments. These carefully placed observation positions circumnavigate the rim of the extinct volcano and align onto similar "sighting pits" or stone markers on the other Auckland hills. The surveying attributes of each one can be identified with careful and precise work, using a handheld GPS unit for coordinate fixes and a computer for analysing results. One would need to visit the many hills of the Auckland Isthmus where the sighting pits or other markers survive in profusion and record all of the positions accurately. After that, it is only the tedious activity of "joining the dots" to test the angle codes or surveying attributes contained in the alignments hill to hill.

Modern-day archaeologists call these depressions "kumara pits" and tell us they were built for storing the "sweet potato". As outlandish and unorthodox as it might seem, maybe, just maybe, they could apply something called the "scientific approach" and test the merits of these depressions as possible surveying trigs... they might get a very big surprise.

Supplimentary quotes relating to the carved, stone-walled and much modified Auckland Hills and their earliest inhabitants:

'There are several very singular hills rising boldly from the surrounding land [Auckland], in shape and form closely resembling the Roman encampments on the Tumuli that abound in many parts of England & having like them three or four distinct fops or ditches encircling them towards the summit - This singular too that these have been formed for defence by the natives - the top of every hill is marked in this way with distinct lines of circumvallation. An antiquary might from this circumstance deduce a connection between the New Zealanders and the ancient Romans!!' (see Felton Mathew's unpublished letters to his wife, Special Collections, Auckland Public Library.

Another early explorer noted:

'Arriving at the foot of the mountain [Mt. Eden] we assayed its ascent in the course of which my friend evinced a deep interest in traces of Maori fortifications of a past age, which were everywhere in evidence, the escarpments, trenches and what had once been covered ways and store pits though fallen in or overgrown, were yet in a wonderful state of recognition.
Several of the stone walls of these fortifications could still be traced with considerable accuracy, although the oldest living Maori could not tell when, or by whom, they were erected.
The Maori race show a wonderful aptitude for field engineering in warfare, and these traces of ancient fortifications, in particular, have often called forth the highest commendation from those most capable of judging such matters.
It must have taken a much larger population than was then to be found to man these fortifications effectively, so extensive were they, the whole mountain appearing to be girt by them, line after line, from bottom to top (see Sketches of Early Colonisation in New Zealand -and its Phases of Contact With the Maori Race, (circa late 1840's), by "Te Manuwiri", pg. 123, Whitcomb & Tombs).

Another publication states:

"Maungawhau, 'the mountain of the whau', a shrub believed to have been growing in the area. The shrub was valued for its cork-like wood, used for floats on fishing nets...Maori legend tells of Maungawhau's [Mt. Eden's] first inhabitants, the Patupaiarehe or Turehu, who were skilled in the arts of fishing, hunting, weaving and warefare. It is said that this nocturnal people were destroyed as they lingered building a bridge after dawn"(see The Changing Face Of Mt. Eden, pg. 8, Mt. Eden Borough Council, 1989).

Indeed, British Archaeologist, Aileen Fox made much the same observation in her 1976 book, Prehistoric Maori Fortifications in the North Island of New Zealand, remarking on the distinct similarities between Maori PA's and the ancient, palisade encompassed, pre-Celtic hill forts of Britain. A mass of such landscape evidence, incorporating many kinds of structures across New Zealand, has been, in recent years, increasingly relegated to the realm of politically incorrect, fringe or pseudo-science and, consequently, never allowed to be seriously investigated by our mainstream archaeologists or historians.

Of these extensive fortifications, built in a very European style, leading historian Elsdon Best said:

The Maori did not live in this manner in his former home in eastern Polynesia. Did he evolve the pa system after he settled here, or did he borrow it from former inhabitants? (see: The Maori As He Was - A Brief Account of Maori Life as it was in Pre-European Days, Chapt. VI, pg. 165).

If the Polynesian Maori brought the artefacts, symbols and motifs here, then why are they not found in their lands of origin? Historian/ anthropologist, Edward Tregear, asked this same question. Professor Thor Heyerdahl wrote the following on this very subject:

'Irrespective of how and when the Maori began to cover their carvings with spirals, the habit is absent in their Polynesian homeland and may therefore very well be so in their still earlier fatherland further away. There is, indeed, no such curvilinear surface design on the wood carvings of the Society Islands and these include the very tall ancestral posts which were erected in ancient Tahiti' (see American Indians in the Pacific, pg. 116).

One of the last surviving sub-tribes of the Patupaiarehe or Turehu was the Ngati Hotu, pockets of whom survived into colonial times. Here's a description of them from Maori Oral tradition:

Generally speaking, Ngati Hotu were of medium height and of light colouring. In the majority of cases they had reddish hair. They were referred to as urukehu. It is said that during the early stages of their occupation of Taupo they did not practice tattooing as later generations did, and were spoken of as te whanau a rangi (the children of heaven) because of their fair skin.
There were two distinct types. One had a kiri wherowhero or reddish skin, a round face, small eyes and thick protruding eyebrows. The other was fair-skinned, much smaller in stature, with larger and very handsome features. The latter were the true urukehu and te whanau a rangi. In some cases not only did they have reddish hair, but also light coloured eyes.
(See Tuwharetoa, chapter 7, page 115, by Rev. John Grace).

So, what was the general fate of these remnant Patu-paiarehe or Turehu, some of whom were of mixed-Maori blood (captured slave women) by the time Hongi Hika unleashed the "Musket Wars" on other Maori tribes around 1818 and thereafter?

'A Maori relating an account of an expedition said, incidentally: 'On the way I was speaking to a red-haired girl who had just been caught out in the open. We were then on the eastern side of Maunga Whau, Auckland. My companions remained with the girl whilst I went to see the man of Waikato who had been killed. As we came back, I saw the head of the red-haired girl lying in the ferns by the side of the track. Further on, we overtook one of the Waihou men carrying a back-load of the flesh, which he was taking to our camp to cook for food. The arms of the girl were round his neck, whilst the body was on his back.' If one can mentally picture the scene, with the man striding along, carrying the headless, disembowelled trunk of the naked girl, enough of this kind of horror will have been evoked...' (see Edward Tregear, The Maori Race, New Zealand, 1904).