Tamaki Leadership Centre
The Tamaki Leadership Centre (TLC) is at the eastern end of the Whangaparoa Peninsula, about 30 kilometres north of Auckland, overlooking the Hauraki Gulf from Great Barrier Island to Rangitoto. It is used by all Services for various operations, mainly small arms training and is administered by the Navy. The TLC confidence course consists of 17 obstacles. Because the safety of all personnel is paramount, Physical Training Instructors and Medics are always present when it is used.
The surrounding environment includes public residential areas, reserves, parks and bush areas. Accordingly provision is made to account for the respectable timings of noise emissions, and the local public are advised through the local newspaper of any noisy activity that is likely to generate public concern, alarm or response. The TLC shares a common boundary with Shakespear Regional Park. The RNZN College enjoys a 'good neighbour' relationship with the Auckland Regional Council Rangers responsible for its operation.
JOCT teams conquering the wall in 2005
A history of the TLC
Originally named the Coastal Batteries, a fortification area was established on Whangaparoa that included gun emplacements and accommodation for personnel. Defence work for the Army fell generally in two groups, the batteries for two 6 inch naval guns, and three 9.2 inch guns. The total cost amounted to $339,831, and about $200,000 was related to the 9.2 inch battery. Building extended over a period from November 1940 to March 1944. Associated with the Whangaparoa Defence Area was a fortress observation post on Tiritirimatangi, built on the eastern side of the island in 1941 at a cost of about $1,500.
Some original buildings alongside the parade ground
The greater part of the earlier project was undertaken by contract, and consisted chiefly of a camp for battery personnel (19 buildings), and gun emplacements. Before contracts could be let, a road to the area over very hilly country was formed to enable materials to be brought by road as well as by sea, and also to provide access to the gun sites. Large dormitories, a combined mess and kitchen, officers' quarters, an orderly room, ration store and recreation hut were built. Construction was timber frame, with wooden or concrete flooring, weatherboards on exterior walls, plaster core wallboard linings, and asbestos cement roofs.
The flying fox on the TLC confidence course
The supply and reticulation of electricity was a major undertaking, as it had to be brought more than 11 miles from Silverdale, with the last mile underground. Water was provided from five bores and rainwater catchment from the buildings. Pumped up to a reservoir of 80,000 gallons capacity, built on high ground above the camp, the water was gravity fed. At about this time a camp for fortress troops was also completed.
180 workmen from the Public Works Department carried out construction of the battery for three 9.2 inch guns. Access roading extended from the 6 inch battery to the site of the new work, and to Shakespear Bay, where a breastwork was erected to facilitate the unloading of metal and supplies from barges. The design required the construction of massive gun pits and underground chambers for magazines, plotting rooms, engine room, and oil stores in reinforced concrete. Tunnels and stairways, with sufficient overhead earth cover to ensure protection from bombs and shells, connected the chambers. War shelters, also in reinforced concrete, were erected on the surface, together with a miniature range, workshops, and a building for training personnel.
Royalist Division doing the swing rope at TLC
Although the army installed the guns, associated work such as gun platforms, gantry sections, cable racks and electrical services remained the responsibility of the Public Works Department. 9,100 cubic yards of concrete were placed underground. The length of tunnelling excavated aggregated 1,924 feet, and the stairways 616 feet. The floor area of the chambers totalled 11,300 square feet. All concrete was pumped into position and porous drains were placed behind the tunnel linings, to ensure a dry environment. Most work was completed within 12 months.
Crossing the 'Burma bridge' of the confidence course.
Read more about training for Officers and Ratings.