Once Japan entered World War II, the New Zealand Government considered invasion by sea a real threat.
Hawke's Bay's coastal defences were strengthened to prepare for that possibility. In 1942, two 6-inch Mark 7 guns were installed in concrete emplacements on a commanding position in the Bluff Hill Domain above the port of Napier. The barracks for the 77 Battery 10 Coast Regiment NZA gunners were located behind the battery.
A plaque, set into a rock garden on the lookout, commemorates the army's presence on the site.
Concrete strong-points, commonly known as pillboxes, were also built along beaches north and south of Napier.
A good example of these gun emplacements can be seen at the Beacons Reserve, four kilometres north of the entrance to the Inner Harbour and just south of the Bay View coastal settlement. Others are located at Whakarire Avenue, Westshore, and at points on the Beach Domain south of the city.
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