Mount Kaukau (Māori: [kaʉkaʉ])[1] is a large hill in the northern suburbs of Wellington, New Zealand near Johnsonville, Khandallah and Ngaio. The summit is 445 metres above sea level and is the most visible high point in the Wellington landscape further accentuated by Wellington's main television transmitter mast, which stands 122m from the summit. The city, harbour and the Remutaka and Tararua Ranges can be seen from the summit. On a clear day Mt. Tapuae-o-Uenuku and the Kaikōura Ranges in the South Island may be seen, whilst northwest is the Porirua Basin and the Tasman Sea.

Mount Kaukau
Highest point
Elevation445 m (1,460 ft)
Coordinates41°13′53.29″S 174°46′40.76″E / 41.2314694°S 174.7779889°E / -41.2314694; 174.7779889
Native nameTarikākā (Māori)
CountryNew Zealand

Name edit

The hill's original name Tarikākā means 'where the parrots rested' and is shared with the nearby settlement in Ngaio at the base of the mountain.[2] Before the clearing of the native totara forest on the slopes and general area, the native parrot kākā was common through the city. Over a hundred years later today, the population of kākā has begun to regenerate thanks mostly to the efforts at Zealandia,[3] and are becoming a more regular sight throughout the city and in the rejuvenating native forest on the slopes of Mount Kaukau.

Slopes and surrounding area edit

Much of the eastern 'city side' slopes of Mount Kaukau make up Khandallah Park, which is one of the oldest parks in New Zealand, established in 1888 and then registered as a domain in 1909.[4] Khandallah Park has more than 60 hectares of native forest. Native birds such as the kererū, tūī and New Zealand fantail are common sights when walking through the native forest. Stumps of the old totara trees can also be seen walking through the first lower parts of the forest. In mid 2017 an old bunker off Woodmancote Road, at the base of Mount Kaukau, was rediscovered after it had been sealed off and forgotten many years previously.[5] The bunker in an 'H' shape, had been built for Royal New Zealand Signals Corps in 1942. Due to poor construction the bunker was very leaky and was never used. Mount Kaukau forms part of the Northern Skyline track from Johnsonville to Karori and Makara.

Panoramic view from Mt Kaukau over Wellington harbour

Recreation edit

Khandallah Park has 9 kilometres of walking tracks allowing access to the peak of Mt Kaukau from Khandallah, Johnsonville, Ngaio and Crofton Downs. Some tracks are also open to mountain biking and e-biking.

Transmitter edit

Close-up of the Mount Kaukau television transmitter in 2008.

The 122-metre Mount Kaukau television transmitter was built in 1965 to transmit television channel WNTV1 offering improved coverage over the channel's previous transmitter at Mount Victoria.[6][7] Today it is the main television and FM radio transmitter for the Wellington metropolitan area.

In May 2022, Kordia removed the top 18 metres of the aerial, as the section was redundant following the end of analogue television broadcast.[8]

The UHF TV antennas are located 93 metres up the tower, while the FM radio antennas are located 65 metres up the tower.[9]

Transmission frequencies edit

The following table contains television and radio frequencies currently operating at Mount Kaukau:[10][9]

TV Channel Transmit Channel Transmit Frequency Band Power (kW)
Kordia digital 28 530.00 MHz UHF 40
Sky digital 30 546.00 MHz UHF
Discovery NZ digital 32 562.00 MHz UHF
TVNZ digital 34 578.00 MHz UHF
Kordia digital 36 594.00 MHz UHF
Māori Television digital 38 610.00 MHz UHF
Radio Station Transmit Channel Transmit Frequency Band Power (kW)
Newstalk ZB 89.3 MHz VHF 40
The Hits 90.1 MHz VHF 40
ZM 90.9 MHz VHF 80
The Edge 91.7 MHz VHF 80
RNZ Concert 92.5 MHz VHF 80
Radio Hauraki 93.3 MHz VHF 40
The Breeze 94.1 MHz VHF 40
Atiawa Toa FM 94.9 MHz VHF 5
Coast 95.7 MHz VHF 40
The Rock 96.5 MHz VHF 16
The Sound 97.3 MHz VHF 16
Magic 98.9 MHz VHF 16
More FM 99.7 MHz VHF 40
Mai FM 100.5 MHz VHF 16
Radio New Zealand National 101.3 MHz VHF 8
PMN 531 103.7 MHz VHF 8
to be determined 104.5 MHz VHF 8
Radio Tarana 105.3 MHz VHF 2
Wellington Access Radio 106.1 MHz VHF 2.5

Former analogue television frequencies edit

The following frequencies were used until 29 September 2013, when Kaukau switched off analogue broadcasts (see Digital changeover dates in New Zealand).

TV Channel Transmit Channel Transmit Frequency Band Power (kW)
TV One 1 45.25 MHz VHF 100
Four 2 55.25 MHz VHF 10
TV2 5 182.25 MHz VHF 200
TV3 11 224.25 MHz VHF 200
Māori Television 44 655.25 MHz UHF 200
Prime 60 783.25 MHz UHF 200

Kaukau Challenge edit

Every year Khandallah School, which is at the base of Mount Kaukau, organises a fun walk / fun run from the school to the summit and back, called the Kaukau Challenge. The Kaukau Challenge has been an annual event since 2006 with about 500 people taking part each year.[who?]

Snowfall of 2011 edit

In mid-August 2011, two Wellington men, Nick Fone and Daniel McFadyen claimed to be the first people to ski and snowboard down Mount Kaukau when they took advantage of the unusual weather pattern delivering snow to most parts of the North Island.[11] As Wellington has a temperate climate, snow down to near sea level is extremely rare, happening less often than once every 15 years.

References edit

  1. ^ "kaukau – Māori Dictionary". Retrieved 8 January 2021.
  2. ^ "Wellington places – Northern suburbs – Mt Kaukau". Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand. March 2016. Retrieved 8 October 2017.
  3. ^ "Zealandia ends its monitoring of kaka numbers as population thrives". April 2016. Retrieved 8 October 2017.
  4. ^ "Skyline Track – Khandallah Park" (PDF). Wellington City Council. October 2017. Retrieved 8 October 2017.
  5. ^ "Revealed: the wartime communications bunker hidden in Wellington bush". August 2017. Retrieved 8 October 2017.
  6. ^ "Skyline Track via Johnsonville and Karori" (PDF). Wellington City Council. Retrieved 10 July 2013.
  7. ^ "Parliamentary Debates (Hansard)". Vol. 351. New Zealand Parliament. 28 June 1967. p. 1394.
  8. ^ Gourley, Sophie Cornish and Erin (24 May 2022). "Eighteen metres of Wellington's highest point carried away by helicopter". Stuff. Retrieved 25 December 2022.
  9. ^ a b The Register of Radio Frequencies Retrieved 30 March 2023
  10. ^ "New Zealand Television Tramsmission Stations in Operation – North Island" (PDF). Kordia. March 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 March 2014. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  11. ^ "Midnight run at Mt Kaukau". August 2011. Retrieved 8 October 2017.