1945: New radio station at Makara

Evening Post, Wellington, 8 June 1945, p6


A new radio receiving station, which is expected to make an important contribution to the efficiency and reliability of New Zealand’s overseas radio-telegraph and radio-telephone communications, has been opened by the Post Office at Makara, Wellington. Details concerning the station and its use were released today by the Acting Postmaster-General (Mr. Jones).

Much of the work for which Makara radio will assume responsibility has been performed at the station on Tinakori Hills assisted by a satellite receiving station at Point Halswell. Owing to the close proximity of these stations to sources of power interference in the city, and the difficulty of erecting the modern receiving aerials required in order to give the highest grade of long-distance service, it has become necessary to effect the changeover. The Point Halswell station has been closed and in the meantime the Tinakori station will be utilised mainly for communications to ships at sea, certain stations in the Pacific Islands, Australia, and U.S.A.


None of the handicaps that have retarded the development of the Tinakori Hills and Point Halswell establishments will be experienced at Makara. The station has been constructed on a farm property of some 1450 acres, which has been acquired by the Post Office. Much of the land will continue to be farmed by a lessee, but complete isolation from future urban expansion is assured and there is ample space for an extensive aerial system and the provision of adequate housing for the technical staff. Added precautions have been taken to guard against interference by having the electric power supply and the telephone lines brought into the property by underground cables.

It is interesting to note that the old method of transcribing messages at the radio station and re-transmitting them over land-lines to the Wellington Telegraph Office will not be employed at the new station. Instead, the signals will, upon receipt, be fed direct to the Wellington Telegraph Office. Similarly, overseas radio-telephone conversations with the Dominion will be fed direct to the Post Office telephone network.

In addition to its immediate responsibility for the reception of radiotelegraph communications, the new station will, when war conditions permit, form an important link in a world-embracing telephone network. It will also conduct frequency measuring and monitoring services required by International Regulations, and its facilities will be taken advantage of by the National Broadcasting Service, for the reception of overseas broadcasts, particularly the B.B.C. short-wave service.


The main station at Makara is a large one-storey building with an extensive basement. This building houses the receiving equipment, together with various control facilities and stand-by power generating plant and batteries. There is an extensive area of radio aerials, some being of the modern rhombic type and all supported on wooden poles about 75ft in height. The work, which was commenced shortly after Japan entered the war, was given a high priority in view of the heavy demands for better radio facilities, and the necessity for ensuring continuity of New Zealand’s long-distance overseas communications in the event of a dislocation of the cable services.


The policy of the Post Office of keeping abreast with current technical developments in order that the most up-to-date and efficient methods of radio communication may be made available to the public is exemplified in the new radio-phototelegraphic service which it is hoped to inaugurate shortly. The necessary equipment has been on order for two years, and when it comes to hand it will be located at the Wellington Chief Post Office. It will then be possible, by utilising the Makara station, to receive transmissions showing photographs of events occurring in Great Britain, Australia, and the United States.