About Musick Point / Te Naupata

Looking east over Musick Point towards Glendowie, 20 Mar 1956
Looking east over Musick Point / Te Naupata towards Glendowie, 20 Mar 1956. Photo: Whites Aviation, Alexander Turnbull Library

Musick Point / Te Naupata, in the eastern Auckland suburb of Bucklands Beach, is a long peninsula jutting north into the Hauraki Gulf.

Musick Point from the north
Musick Point / Te Naupata from the north, with part of the Musick Memorial Radio Station (white building) visible

The Point includes the Howick Golf Club and, at its end, the Musick Memorial Radio Station which is the former home of maritime coast station Auckland Radio ZLD/ZLF. The radio station is now operated and maintained by the Musick Point Radio Group, a society of licensed amateur radio operators.

Looking north over Bucklands Beach and Eastern Beach towards Musick Point
Looking north over Bucklands Beach and Eastern Beach towards Musick Point / Te Naupata, with Browns Island and Rangitoto island in the distance, 27 Oct 1964. Photo: Whites Aviation, Alexander Turnbull Library

Musick Point / Te Naupata is registered under the Historic Places Act, and the Historic Places Registry includes the following information:

Acquired by the Crown following an investigation into land dealings by the early missionary William Fairburn, the site was used for grazing as late as the 1950s. In the late 1930s, Musick Point / Te Naupata was one of five strategic locations for a national communications network that facilitated the introduction of international air services to New Zealand in 1940. Following the loss of a Pan American Airways flying boat en route to New Zealand in 1938, the New Zealand government instructed that a planned operations building be designed as a fitting memorial to the American aviation pioneer, Captain Edwin Musick.

The design of the new building has been credited to John Blake-Kelly, who later became the first New Zealand-trained Government Architect. Its style represents an early local use of Modern or Functionalist-influenced architecture in Auckland, and was conceived as part of a wider landscape modelled on the appearance of an aeroplane and jet stream that was evidently intended to be viewed from the air. Work on the building commenced in 1940 and was undertaken by Hamilton-based contractor, DC Street Construction Limited. The facility was opened by Prime Minister Peter Fraser in January 1942 in the presence of American consular officials. The complex included an associated workers’ village accommodating staff required for the 24-hour operation. During the Second World War, Musick Point / Te Naupata was the main communications link with New Zealand forces in the Pacific. It also briefly served as the connection between the United States Naval Command station in Auckland and its Washington headquarters.

In 1942, a formal landscape surrounding the installation was set out by horticulturalist Roy Thornton, and was notable for its exclusive use of native species. During the 1950s the southeast part of the headland was developed as a golf course by the Howick Golf Club, consistent with earlier plans for public use of the headland as a park.

From 1966 the station building was used solely for regional maritime and emergency radio services, one of its original dual purposes. In 1993 it was decommissioned. Since 1999 the Musick Memorial Radio Station has been occupied by the Suburban Amateur Radio Club* and was rededicated by the American Ambassador in 2003. It is now an important archive and repository of radio equipment associated with its original use.

* since renamed the Musick Point Radio Group

Aerial video of Musick Point

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