Bombs driven from Auckland to Ohakea

01:07, Aug 11 2014

High explosive weapons are taken by truck through Auckland and the North Island because of rules around loading aircraft at Auckland's Whenuapai air force base.

The revelation in the latest addition of Air Force News follows the mystery bangs that rattled Auckland in June.

The Royal New Zealand Air Force admitted the bangs were caused by their P3K Orion aircraft dropping 227kg bombs at the Kaipara Air Weapons range, 65km north west of downtown Auckland.

Unusual atmospherics meant the explosions from the US manufactured bombs - which cost around $2500 each - was heard and felt over the city.

Air Force News says the "bombing up" or loading of the Orions had to take place at rural-based Ohakea, 375km south of Auckland.

This was because "hazardous substance law prevents our armourers from loading (high explosive) ordnance at Whenuapai (unless we are at war) as it is a high density area."

The 36 bombs needed for the exercise were in magazines in Waiouru and were driven on State Highway One to Ohakea.

The air force needed to "obtain the correct gazetting and licensing" to move the bombs and had to let local authorities know.

They also needed to move a single torpedo holding 44kg of plastic explosive from Auckland to Ohakea.

It was taken from the high security but decidedly residential Kauri Point in the upper Waitemata and driven through Birkenhead before reaching the motorway.

"It only took a day to drive the torpedo down from Auckland and the truck required an escort and safety vehicle," Air Force News reported.

"The NZ Police were also notified that we were transporting this high explosive ordnance via the State Highway..."

The article did not disclose the route and whether it went over the harbour bridge but it presumably had to negotiate Auckland's central motorway interchange, Spaghetti Junction.

Unlike the bombs, the live torpedo was not dropped from an Orion - New Zealand does not have a torpedo testing range.