Gwen Stevens was one of the last survivors of World War ll's top secret Auckland Combined Military Headquarters. There she plotted grid references from New Zealand’s coastal radar, tracking the coming and goings of ships and aircraft. The threat of a Japanese invasion had everyone on edge. At one point there was panic when it was believed an aircraft carrier had been detected off the coast. All services were mobilised, but it turned out to be a mistaken reading of the Three Kings Islands. Over 70 years later, Stevens' recall remains clear. Stevens passed away on 1 January 2018.
They thought it was an aircraft carrier … and everyone was panicking and all the services turned out. One of the men grabbed me on the shoulder and said 'come on girl, what are they saying now?' And I said 'well excuse me sir but I think the Three Kings Islands are up there, but it hasn’t been drawn on the map'.– Gwen Stevens