In the late 1980's it was decided that the long overdue motorway extension southward should be undertaken. Although this arterial route system for greater Auckland had been initially designed in the 1950's, it was, thereafter completed in spurts and starts over the years, with this section being neglected and overlooked for some thirty years beyond the design stage. Prior to the completion of the motorway extension, north or southbound traffic used the increasingly congested, "Great South Road", built in the 1860's. Work got underway in 1990 under "Works Civil Construction", which was what the older "Ministry of Works" developed into.

As the new motorway traversed over the farm of Mr. Kevin Plummer of Bombay Hill, the roading gang happened upon a cluster of two giant obelisks and many sizeable boulders buried together on the brow of the hill. The position in which they were found offered wide clear vistas of the Auckland volcanic hills, extending north to Rangitoto Island or northwest across the isthmus to the Manukau Heads and the Waitakere Ranges. Very good views extended southward as well and it was apparent that the location of the boulders, sitting on elevated ground some 22-miles south of Mt. Wellington in the heart of Auckland, could act as an interim, visible trig for keen-eyed ancient surveyors.

The roading crew came across the huge stones at a depth of about six feet below the surface. The large cluster was found under a layer of tephra ash (volcanic ash) and it was mentioned to Construction Superintendent, Nick Botica, that this was fallout from the 186 AD volcanic explosion of Taupo. One huge obelisk lying on its side, was later calculated by civil engineers to weigh about 50 tons. Because all the stones were mostly together in one spot with an ash band covering them, they had caused a "wet spot" or soak hole to occur. It was essential to remove them all to continue the excavation and eliminated the soft, wet spot that their presence had caused. It took two huge machines to move each of the two hefty obelisks a short distance to the east, out of the way of the road works

A bulldozer and digger work to roll out one of the smaller boulders from the cluster. The two largest stones required tremendous combined effort and powerful machinery to remove them from the soak hole they'd caused. Note the digger bucket has only four fairly wide and evenly spaced claws and would not have been able to produce the curved and flowing incising found on the largest obelisk. Careful observation and measurement of that "flattened spiral" incising shows it to have been expertly hand hewn. Works Civil Construction Superintendent, Nick Botica has confirmed that the five"bullaun bowl" holes could not have been drilled with any core sampling drills that he was acquainted with, if for no other reason than the overly large diameter of the holes (14 cm) found in the bullaun boulder. Test core drills, he said, were much smaller and added that 'the moment rock was encountered the drilling would stop'. He also said that the drilling of five separate holes into soil, let alone solid rock, in the space of only 1 square metre, was not a work practice that any geotech-engineer soil analysts would do. The irregularities in the bullaun bowl walls show, again, that they were expertly, but laboriously hand hewn. Covering the Bombay boulders was a layer of tephra ash fallout. (Photo courtesy of Mr. Nick Botica).

On Mr, Kevin Plummer's land there was a hole into which the second-largest obelisk and a number of boulders were pushed, then buried. Thankfully, the largest obelisk and a few other boulders, including the one containing the five bullaun bowls, remained above ground. Future archaeologists will still be able to retrieve the buried stones, as the position is very close to where the above ground stones now sit. It is probable that further ancient incising, bullauns or other purpose made features will be present on the several additional boulders covered over in circa 1992.

If the information conveyed to Construction Superintendent, Nick Botica by advisors is correct, and the tephra ash covering the obelisks and other component parts of the Bombay Hill structure came from the Taupo eruption of 186 AD, then we have positive evidence that this site was last used over 1800-years ago. If that's Taupo tephra, then there can be no doubt but that the intricate incising in evidence or creation of bullaun bowls was done by humans over 1000-years before Maori arrived on these shores. The Taupo eruption is said to be the largest volcanic explosion in recorded history, the noise from which was heard in China and the atmospheric effects from which were observed in Rome for six months afterward. It's quite possible that shock waves and ground tremors from the massive eruption toppled the standing obelisks at the Bombay Hills. Over ensuing days or weeks beyond the eruption they were covered in a blanket of volcanic ash and not found again until Nick Botica's roading crew happened upon them in 1992.

Despite the rigours involved in moving such a hefty object as the (circa) 50-ton surviving obelisk, a close inspection of all the stones would indicate that they haven't suffered immense damage in their encounters with the digger bucket or bulldozer blade. At the very least, there is surviving ancient incising that has not been scoured or effected by the machinery and is well preserved or perfectly clear. Another intriguing fact is that there isn't a lot of stone in evidence throughout the Bombay Hills area. An upthrust of some basalt can be seen opposite St. Stephen's College on the city side of the hill, but apart from that the natural terrain seems denuded of rock. The landscape for miles around is layered with rich volcanic soil atop clay beds and it's very evident that this cluster of large obelisks or sizeable boulders was brought together by ancient human intervention to serve some profound structural purpose. So, what could that purpose be?


All across our country and very often at the highest, most inhospitable points of rugged terrain, the careful observer can detect and recognised purpose placed trig marker stones, set up by ancient surveyors.

Throughout the 200-year long colonial history of New Zealand hikers, hunters and surveyors alike have encountered and been bewildered by the presence of, what appeared to be, purpose placed marker stones atop high hills or mountains across the length and breadth of New Zealand. The above set of three shaped and purpose erected standing stones sit atop Moehau Mountain in remote and rugged, difficult to get to, high country of the Coromandel Ranges.

A gentleman I've spoken to in Hillsborough remembers reading commentary in a diary of his great-great grandfather, who was a New Zealand government surveyor in the nineteenth century. His great-great grandfather had written words to the effect that wherever he went to set up trigs or complete surveys, he could see the handiwork of much earlier surveyors who had preceded him. For anyone conversant with millenniums old, standard surveying methodologies, the ancient marker systems of New Zealand are easily detected. These structures include: substantial tor mounds, smaller mound humps, obelisks, standing stone arrangements including circle trigs, boulder cairns, smaller component rock cairns, alignment trenches, sighting pits, sea-cliff benchmark excavations for elevation work and determining overland mountain heights above sea level, surveyor's baselines and the clever use of the natural landscape or sea horizon. Beyond these purely surveying related structures there are standing stone circles for astronomy and solar observatories that can also translate an equinox or solstice fix into a land-based navigational value.

A couple of examples of tor mounds or surveying mounds. These jut up very conspicuously on hill ranges and are highly visible from a long way off. Many of these were built in strategic locations across the New Zealand landscape and they represent ridgeline trigs. Often, they have standing stones or large obelisks placed upon them and this is, undoubtedly, the origin of the term "tor" or "tower" mounds. In the latter eras of Britain, large towers, turrets or even castles were constructed atop the ancient tors. The above tor or trig mounds are located at Maunganui Bluff in Northland. Amongst several other functions, the tor to the right serves as a summer solstice sunrise marker from a field boulder cairn in the Waitapu Valley.

In clear view of the obelisk cluster on Mr. Kevin Plummer's farm is a fully fledged and complete tor mound at the highest point of the Bombay Hill's township. Given that the obelisk cluster was moved only 50 to 75 feet eastward, towards the tor, out of the path of the new motorway, the original intended degree angle to the tor should have remained fairly precise @ 94.5-degrees azimuth. The intended, surveyed distance from the hubstone of the tor to where the obelisk cluster originally sat appears to have been set at 6048 feet, or 1-minute of equatorial arc according to the Great Pyramid's base standard (2 circumnavigation's of the Great Pyramid @ 756-feet per side = 6048 feet. The degree angle code of 94.5 is highly significant as a mathematical progression in identifying both geodetic and lunar cycle codes. For example, under the Great Pyramids geodetic assignment for the equatorial circumference of the earth, 94.5 feet would be 1/64th of 1-minute of arc or 1/8th of the Great Pyramid's length. Alternatively, the Khafre Pyramid was 15/16ths the length of the Great Pyramid or 708.75 feet per side (2835 feet for a circumnavigation... 30 X 94.5 feet = 2835 feet). Likewise, the ancient astronomers used the value 6804-days (19.2 lunar years) to describe the duration of the lunar nutation cycle (94.5-days X 72 = 6804-days).

After one has become accustomed to seeing tor mounds on hill ranges across New Zealand, they are fairly easy to spot. This one is situated on the highest point of the immediate area and it's symmetrical appearance makes it conspicuously apparent as a purpose built structure. In walking up to the tor we found a sighting pit on its northern face. I was very hopeful that the crown of the tor mound might yet have its summit hubstone and peripheral alignment marker stones in place. The structure turned out to be complete and I was not the least disappointed by what we found.

Photo left: Luisa stands atop one of the tor mound summit marker stones. It is patently obvious that these hard wearing basalt boulders, which range up to 6.5-feet in length (two metres), were carefully chosen then hauled to this high lookout location as surveying alignment markers.

Photo centre: The view northward over the entire Auckland Isthmus and beyond is spectacular. The refined point of this tor mound atop Bombay Hills, up to 25-miles distant from the Auckland hills, served as a predominant outer trig marker for ancient surveying fixes southward.

Photo right: Luisa looks southward at an ancient tor mound with a modern day trig tower atop it. The very symmetrical shape of the hill indicates that it was modified in remote antiquity to act as a recognisable, overland mapping trig. This tor mound hill is a part of the Mount William high ground, which was the resolving region for the alignments extending through Auckland to the south. The main 5-part alignment crossing the entire Auckland Isthmus resolved to the highest point of Mt. William. The hill (pictured) at Mt. William, with trig B2D4 (modern code) sitting atop it, was the resolving point for an ancient surveying alignment extending from Mt. Albert in the Auckland Isthmus, across the tor mound at the highest point of Bombay Hill (from whence this photo was taken) to the top of the pointed hill in the background (within the Mt. William resolving area). Yet another ancient surveying alignment extended from Stockade Hill in Howick, across the crown of Pukekiwiriki Hill (Red Hill. Papakura...which was turned into fort during the later Maori era) to the top of the pointed hill pictured (B2D4).

Right: This is the very impressive looking hubstone that sits in the centre summit of the Bombay tor mound. Other stones were placed in an arc around the hubstone and acted as observation positions for viewing over the hubstone to a distant landmark The hubstone measures over 6.5 feet in length (2-metres).

Left: One of the large peripheral marker stones that provided an alignment over the hubstone to a distant landmark. There are about 16 of these markers positioned around the summit of the hill. They are now all lying on their sides, but its fairly clear where they would have stood. The outlying markers surrounding the hubstone appear to provide alignments to the following locations:

  1. Over towards the high ground of Waiuku and the southern Manukau Heads.
  2. A high point of the Waitakere Ranges traversing Awhiti Point.
  3. An alignment directly towards the cone summit of Rangitoto Island.
  4. An alignment to a prominent local point as yet unidentified to the NNE.
  5. An alignment to a mountain to the NE that might be a southern part of the Coromandel Peninsula. This alignment seems to pass over another shaped hill closeby.
  6. An unidentified mountain to the East.
  7. An alignment to a distant range ESE, to the left of Mt. Wilson, with a prominent hump on it.
  8. An alignment to a peak jutting up behind a distant range to the west.
  9. An alignment to a range in the SSW.

Much more refined and careful work will need to be done before we can positively identify all of the intended alignments put in place by the ancient surveyors who erected the stones atop the Bombay tor mound. Again, a good look around the landscape shows no evidence of available stone and all the durable basalt markers were obviously hauled to this high location at great effort to serve a very profound and worthwhile purpose, important to the ancient people. More boulder cairns markers are to be found on the eastern slopes of the tor mound hill.


Auckland has been badly neglected. Archaeological work that could have and should have been carried out many years ago was never done and the true story of Auckland has never been told.

It goes something like this:

Once upon a time there was a very enlightened civilisation that occupied the entire Auckland Isthmus, outer gulf islands and surrounding ranges. They were avid astronomers and surveyors who worked in both stone and wood. Over a period of a few thousand years they carved the 36+ volcanic cones of Auckland to act as astronomical and surveying observatories. Around most of the hills they dug "sighting pits" and trenches for the purpose of establishing clear directional alignments onto the other hills or to distant mountain targets of the region. They also set up obelisks, cairn markers, trig humps, shadow clefts to act like sun dials and special rise and set solar positions for getting a fix onto the sun at the time of the equinoxes or solstices. These people had a very functional lunisolar calendar system, which told them when to plant or when to harvest. They used the Sumerian-Babylonian 360-degree angle system and encoded profound aspects of ancient cyclic or navigational science into the landscape by use of marked distances and angles. The marking systems served several functions simultaneously, which were:

  1. A measured distance between the point of a stone to another carefully placed outlying stone would carry information in the length. This coded information could be easily extracted by use of measuring rods or ropes.

  2. The angle around from north from one marked position to another could carry information in the 360-degree compass value derived.

  3. A marked alignment might direct attention to a pointed peak in the far distance. By standing at the first stone and looking over the other stone or stones of the alignment to the peak, one might witness that the sun, at the time of the summer solstice, rose from exactly behind the peak and, by annually witnessing that solar event, the calendar could be kept accurate year upon year.

  4. The distance between markers situated on two separate hills or in a valley could form a surveyor's baseline of known length A surveyor could then go to one end of the line and take an angle fix on a distant mountain peak. The surveyor could then move to the other end of the line and take an angle fix on the same peak. By knowing the two angles and the accurate length of the baseline, the distance to that peak could be precisely calculated using trigonometry.

The above list is indicative of what the Auckland hills and marker systems were actually fashioned for and how they were used. Our archaeologists, however, with no compelling or plausible evidence to back their very PC, tunnel-vision and approved hypotheses, have decided that the laboriously carved hills were built by late arriving Maori as hill forts. We know, very well, what actual fortification structures look like and how they worked, as we've got a few of those around New Zealand to refer to and analyse. From a military point of view, a true PA or fortress structure was a formidable, virtually impregnable enclosure that only a determined and very strong force could breach, albeit at great risk and human cost. So how does a real fortress compare to what we find on the Auckland hills?

1. Generally, a true fortress will offer natural barriers that force the enemy to attack from a limited quarter. For example, it will be built on a sea peninsula with sheer cliffs on most sides, forcing the enemy to approach along only one limited and heavily fortified land corridor.

2. A true fortress is made up of tiers and plateaux, with each level heavily palisaded by sturdy, high barrier fences. The thick, heavy posts were inserted deeply into the ground and placed so closely together that no-one could pass through the gaps. The defending warriors could spear or club anyone preoccupied with clambering over the high fences or trying to make a breach in the wall. Defenders would fight off attacks, starting at a low tier or plateau and inflict as much human damage as possible to the strategically disadvantaged attackers. If a huge force managed, finally, to overwhelm and occupy a lower tier or level, the defenders would simply retreat to the next upward level and the defensive process would commence anew.

3. In a true fortress situation, the attackers had to face the terrible obstacle posed by defensive trenches. In the solitary attack corridors provided, the attacking enemy had to clamber down slippery bank walls of the deep and steep trenches, climb up the other side on their hands and knees then find their way over sharpened impaling stakes that jutted out diagonally, before encountering the rigours of a palisade barrier fence. Throughout this entire manoeuvre the attackers were at a distinct military disadvantage, with heavy rock missiles being hurled at them. To even make it to the barrier fence on the fortress side of the trench represented a major accomplishment, but at that point an attacker was very exposed and vulnerable to spear thrusts or club strokes through the palisade gaps, with nowhere to jump out of the way or evade affliction. Again, if the enemy managed to break through that barrier, they would have to encounter yet more of the same further into the fortress.