Lighthouses of New Zealand: North Island

New Zealand includes two large islands, North Island and South Island, with many smaller islands. This page describes lighthouses of North Island and nearby smaller islands.

Most of the coastline of New Zealand is high and scenic. Many of the lighthouses are at remote locations, and lighthouse fans need a good pair of hiking shoes to reach some of them, if they can be reached at all.

Coastal lighthouses are operated and maintained by Maritime New Zealand (MNZ). Information on most of these lighthouses is readily available on the MNZ web site. Harbor lighthouses, however, are owned and maintained by local harbor authorities, and less information is available for most of them. There is no national lighthouse preservation group, but the New Zealand Historic Places Trust has acted to preserve several lighthouses after they were deactivated.

Many of the place names in New Zealand are in the Māori language; the Māori phrase for a lighthouse is whare rama or whare tūrama.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from Volume K of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA light list numbers are from NGA Publication 111.

General Sources
Maritime New Zealand - Lighthouses
Information available on Maritime New Zealand's lighthouse site.
Encyclopedia of New Zealand - Lighthouses
An excellent historical account by Helen Beaglehole.
New Zealand Lighthouses
Photos from 1999-2000 with comments by Mark Phillips.
New Zealand Lighthouses
Data and photos posted by Kevin Mulcahy of Lighthouses.net.au.
World of Lighthouses - New Zealand
Photos available from Lightphotos.net.
Lighthouses in New Zealand
Photos available from Wikimedia Commons.
Grant and Tracey's Lighthouse Page - New Zealand
Photos of Auckland area lighthouses posted by Grant Maizels.
Leuchttürme.net - Neuseeland
Photos and data posted by Malte Werning.
Leuchttürme Australiens und Ozeaniens auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard views posted by Klaus Huelse.

Tiritiri Matangi Light
Tiritiri Matangi Light, Auckland, February 2010
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Avenue

Northland Region Lighthouses

West Coast (Kaipara District) Lighthouse
Kaipara North Head (Pouto Point)
1884. Inactive 1944-1947 and since the mid 1950s. 14 m (46 ft) hexagonal wood tower with lantern and gallery, painted white; lantern roof is red. A Historic Places Trust photo is at right, Petra Kiesewetter has a 2008 photo, another good photo and a 2012 closeup are available, and Google has a satellite view. This is a sibling of the Waipapa Point Light on South Island, which was completed the same year. These two lighthouses, thought to have been designed by John Blackett, were the last two wood lighthouses built in New Zealand in the 1800s. The original lantern was removed in 1944 and relocated to Cape Saunders in 1948; in late 2006 this lantern was replaced at Cape Saunders and returned to Kaipara for restoration. The present lantern was relocated from Cape Foulwind in 1947. By 1971 the Marine Department was preparing to demolish the abandoned lighthouse. Area residents formed the Kaipara Lighthouse Trust to work for its preservation. In 1979 the property was conveyed to the New Zealand Historic Places Trust, which carried out a restoration of the lighthouse in 1982-84, just in time for the centennial of the light. The lighthouse was repainted and refurbished again in 2008. Kaipara Harbour is a large sound opening on the west side of the North Island north of Auckland. Located on the north side of the Kaipara Harbour entrance west of Pouto. Accessible by 4WD vehicles or by a hike of about 6 km (4 mi) on the beach. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: N.Z. Historic Places Trust. ARLHS NZL-030.
* Piha
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 266 m (873 ft); white flash every 15 s. 5 m (17 ft) semielliptical white concrete tower. Google has a satellite view. This tower is said to be at a former Royal New Zealand Air Force searchlight station. Located atop a spectacular cliff at the end of Log Race Road, above the Piha beaches, about 12 km (7.5 mi) north of Kaipara North Head. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K4122; NGA 4884.
Kaipara North Head Light
Kaipara North Head Light, Pouto
N.Z. Historic Places Trust photo courtesy of David Reynolds

North Coast (Far North District) Lighthouses
Cape Maria van Dieman (1) (Motuopao)
1879. Inactive since 1941. This was a wood tower with lantern and gallery; only the wood base remains. A small photo is available, Phillips has a very distant view, and Google has a satellite view. The Department of Conservation has placed a cap over the tower to protect it. Cape Maria van Diemen, facing the Tasman Sea, is the westernmost of the three points of land at the northern end of New Zealand, the other two being Cape Reinga and North Cape. Because of the difficulty in accessing and supplying the light station, the lighthouse was deactivated in 1941 and its lantern and lens transferred to a new tower at Cape Reinga (see below). Located on the summit of Motuopao Island off the point of the cape. Accessible only by boat. The island is a nature reserve closed to the public; the lighthouse is distantly visible from beaches on the mainland. Site and tower closed. Owner/site manager: N.Z. Department of Conservation. ARLHS NZL-010.
[Cape Maria van Diemen (2)]
1941 (station established 1879). Active; focal plane 90 m (295 ft); three white flashes every 20 s. 3 m (10 ft) round cylindrical fiberglass tower; no lantern. Google has a satellite view. Located on the mainland point of the cape. Site open, tower closed. Operator/site manager: Maritime New Zealand. Admiralty K3686; NGA 3792.
* Cape Reinga
1941. Active; focal plane 165 m (542 ft); white flash every 12 s. 10 m (33 ft) octagonal concrete tower with lantern and eight ribs. Tower painted white; lantern roof is black. Jeanie Mackinder's photo is at right, a 2008 photo is available, Rian Long has a good panoramic view, Wikipedia has an article with a photo by James Shook, Wikimedia has additional photos, and Bing has a satellite view. This light on Cape Reinga replaced the 1879 Cape Maria van Diemen lighthouse as the main landfall light at the northern extremity of New Zealand. It carries the original Maria van Diemen lantern, but the 1st order Fresnel lens has been replaced by a small modern lens. It stands on a spectacular site overlooking the Pacific to the northeast and the Tasman Sea to the northwest. Accessible by road from Kaitaia, and in 2010 the last 20 km (13 mi) of the road were paved. Site open, tower closed. Operator/site manager: Maritime New Zealand. ARLHS NZL-012; Admiralty K3688; NGA 3796.
* North Cape (Murimotu Island) (1) (lantern)
1929. Inactive since 1973. Round cast iron lantern and 3rd order(?) Fresnel lens. Originally located on Murimotu Island off North Cape, the northernmost point in New Zealand. The lighthouse was demolished in 1973, but the lantern with its clamshell Fresnel lens is on display beside NZ 1 at Waitaki Landing, about 25 km (15 mi) southwest of Cape Reinga. Google has a satellite view. Site open. Owner/site manager: unknown. ARLHS NZL-066.
[North Cape (Murimotu Island) (2)]
1973. Active; focal plane 99 m (325 ft); white flash every 8 s. 3 m (10 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower, painted white. Phillips has an MNZ photo (halfway down the page), and Google has a satellite view. Located at the highest point of Murimotu Island, just off North Cape. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Admiralty K3690; NGA 3800.
Cape Brett (1)
1910. Inactive since 1978. Approx. 15 m (50 ft) round cast iron tower with lantern, painted white. The active light (focal plane 146 m (479 ft); white flash every 15 s) is on a 4 m (13 ft) cylindrical fiberglass tower standing in front of the historic lighthouse. The 1-story wood keeper's house (one of three in the original light station) now shelters hikers. By 2005 the lighthouse was in critical need of restoration. In 2007, the Dept. of Conservation scraped 60 layers of paint from the lighthouse and restored the exterior to its original appearance; a good October 2007 photo shows the results. Maizels also has a page on this light, the New Zealand Herald has a feature on visiting the lighthouse, and Bing has a satellite view. In August 2009 the light station was registered as a Category I Historic Place. The Cape Brett area is now a national scenic reserve. Located at the end of a rugged peninsula on the south side of the Bay of Islands. Accessible by passenger ferry or by backpacking about 20 km (13 mi) from Rawhiti-Whangamumu Road. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Maritime New Zealand. Owner/site manager: N.Z. Department of Conservation (Manawahuna Scenic Reserve). ARLHS NZL-005; Admiralty K3709; NGA 3912.

Cape Reinga Light, Cape Reinga, December 2008
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Jeanie Mackinder

Auckland Region Lighthouses

Hauraki Gulf Lighthouses
Note: Hauraki Gulf is a protected, island-strewn sound opening to the Pacific Ocean north of Auckland. The gulf is about 100 km (60 mi) long and as much as 50 km (30 mi) wide.
Mokohinau Islands (Burgess Island)
1883. Active; focal plane 122 m (400 ft); white flash every 10 s. 14 m (46 ft) round cylindrical stone tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted white, gallery black. Other light station buildings demolished. A photo is at right, Pete Pattinson has a photo, Mulcahy has a different MNZ photo, a view from the sea is available, and Google has an overexposed satellite view. The lighthouse is the landfall light for vessels arriving in Auckland from the north or northeast. Located on Burgess (Pokohinu) Island, the highest of the three Mokohinau Islands in the entrance to Hauraki Gulf about 100 km (60 mi) north of Auckland. Burgess is the only one of the islands open to the public. Accessible only by boat; the island is sometimes visited by ecotours from Auckland. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Maritime New Zealand. Site manager: N.Z. Department of Conservation (Mokohinau Islands Scenic and Nature Reserves). ARLHS NZL-035; Admiralty K3734; NGA 3984.
* [Cape Rodney]
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 53 m (174 ft); four quick white flashes every 20 s. 4 m (13 ft) square cylindrical steel tower topped by a short mast. Sibling of Cape Kidnappers Light (see below). Google has a distant satellite view of the location. This lighthouse is within a marine reserve open to the public; it appears to be accessible by a short walk. Located on the cape, on the western shore of Hauraki Gulf near Leigh. Operator: Maritime New Zealand. Site manager: N.Z. Department of Conservation (Cape Rodney-Okahari Point Marine Reserve). ARLHS NZL-013; Admiralty K3736.6; NGA 3992.
Flat Rock
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); white flash every 7 s. 8 m (26 ft) round white fiberglass tower mounted on a round concrete pier. An aerial photo is available, but clouds block Bing's satellite view. Located on a skerry off the east coast of Kawau Island, on the west side of Hauraki Gulf near Omaha. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K3738; NGA 4020.

Mokohinau Islands Light, Hauraki Gulf
Maritime New Zealand photo
** Tiritiri Matangi (Tiritiri Island)
1865 (McLean, Simpson and Co.). Active; focal plane 91 m (300 ft); white flash every 15 s. 20 m (67 ft) round cast iron tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted white. Two 1-story keeper's quarters (1918), one used as a visitor center and the other as a park ranger residence. 1-story concrete fog signal building (1935); original diaphone fog signal in place but not used since about 1983. Auckland Harbour Board signal station (1912). A photo is at the top of this page, Sandy Austin has a photo, another good photo is available, Maritime New Zealand has a page with a good historical account, and Bing has a satellite view. The lighthouse was prefabricated in Pimlico, England, and is a twin of the Cape Egmont Light. This is New Zealand's oldest active lighthouse and the most complete light station in the country. The Supporters of Tiritiri Matangi work for the ecological restoration of the island and the preservation of the historic buildings. Native trees, birds, and other wildlife have been successfully reintroduced to the island. Located near the southeastern end of Tiritiri Island in Hauraki Gulf about 30 km (19 mi) north of Auckland. Accessible only by boat; the island is accessible by passenger ferry from Gulf Harbour and downtown Auckland (visitation is limited to 150 passengers per day). Guided tours are available. Operator: Maritime New Zealand. Site manager: N.Z. Department of Conservation (Tiritiri Matangi Scientific Reserve). ARLHS NZL-054; Admiralty K3740; NGA 4028.
Ponui Passage (Sandspit Passage) (2)
1984(?) (station established 1871). Active; focal plane 6 m (20 ft); flash every 2 s, white or red depending on direction. 6 m (20 ft) post, painted white, mounted on remains of the hexagonal screwpile platform of the original lighthouse. No current photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. The platform originally carried a hexagonal light tower centered on a wood keeper's cottage. The cottage was removed and relocated to Ponui Island in 1938; we do not know if it survives. The light tower was returned to the platform, where it served until 1984. The lantern is said to be on loan to the Dockside Restaurant in Wellington. Located at the end of a submerged sandspit at the eastern entrance to a passage south of Ponui Island in the southeastern part of Hauraki Gulf, also known as the Firth of Thames. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS NZL-041; Admiralty K3852; NGA 4224.

Auckland Harbour Lighthouses
Rangitoto Island
1905. Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); red light, 1.5 s on, 10.5 s off. 20 m (65 ft) round tapered concrete tower with gallery, painted white with narrow red horizontal bands. Lantern removed. Janice Dunn has a good closeup photo, a second photo is available, Debra Markey has a fine 2008 closeup, and Bing has a satellite view. Rangitoto Island, one of several large islands in Auckland Harbour, is protected as the Rangitoto Island Scenic Reserve; it is accessible by passenger ferry from downtown Auckland. 4WD tours of the island often pass close to the lighthouse. The lighthouse is located on a small islet just off the western end of Rangitoto Island. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Operator/site manager: Ports of Auckland. ARLHS NZL-045; Admiralty K3744; NGA 4048.
Bean Rock
1871. Active; focal plane 15 m (50 ft); three white flashes every 8 s. 15 m (50 ft) hexagonal cast iron skeletal tower supporting a hexagonal wood keeper's quarters with lantern centered on the roof. Entire structure painted white. Fog siren (blast every 30 s). Lee Gilbert's photo is at right, Alister Coyne has a photo, Maizels also has photos, Jeremy D'Entremont has written a feature article on the lighthouse for the February 2002 Lighthouse Digest, Werning has a page for the lighthouse, and Bing has a satellite view. This unique lighthouse has been a landmark in Auckland Harbour ever since its construction. In 1985, the cottage was lifted to shore by helicopter and restored while the rotten legs of the structure were replaced with new hardwood on concrete pilings. Located on Te Toka a Kapetawa (the Rock of Kapetawa) off North Head at the entrance to Auckland's inner harbor. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Operator/site manager: Ports of Auckland. ARLHS NZL-003; Admiralty K3748; NGA 4064.

Manukau Harbour Lighthouses
Manukau South Head (3)
1989 (station established 1874). Active; focal plane 234 m (768 ft); white light, 4 s on, 2 s off. Light mounted on a mast rising from a 1-story signal station building. Bing has a satellite view. The original lighthouse at this station, a 9 m (30 ft) wooden tower with a large lantern, collapsed in 1944 when nearby coast artillery were test fired. The second light, a short concrete tower, came into imminent peril of collapse due to beach erosion; it was deactivated in 1986 and demolished early in the 1990s. Grant Maizels found rubble on the beach in 1998. The light was moved to the signal station high on the bluff above; a photo of the station is available. Located at the south entrance to Manukau Harbour, southwest of Auckland. Operator/site manager: Ports of Auckland. ARLHS NZL-033; Admiralty K4108; NGA 4868.
Bean Rock Light
Bean Rock Light, Auckland, November 2010
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Lee Gilbert
** Manukau South Head (1, replica)
2006 replica of 1874 lighthouse. A decorative light is displayed. 9 m (30 ft) octagonal wood tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted white, lantern black. The original cast iron lantern and 2nd order Fresnel lens, stored since 1986, have been reinstalled on the replica tower. Phil Armitage has a good photo, another fine photo is available, Sandy Austin has a closeup, and Bing has a satellite view. The Manukau Heads Lighthouse Trust was formed in 2000 to organize the reconstruction, which involved nearly everyone in the Manukau community in some way. The rebuilt lighthouse was dedicated by New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark on 23 September 2006, and a decorative light was established on 7 June 2008. Located at the end of Manukau Heads Road near the signal station. Accessible by road; parking available. Site open daily, tower closed. Site manager: Ports of Auckland.

East Coast Lighthouses

Waikato Region (Bay of Plenty) Lighthouses
Cuvier Island (Repanga)
1889. Active; focal plane 119 m (390 ft); white flash every 15 s. 15 m (49 ft) round cast iron tower with lantern and gallery, painted white; lantern roof is black. Other light station buildings demolished. An MNZ photo is at right, Mulcahy also has an MNZ photo, Phillips has several photos, and Bing has a satellite view. The first cast iron lighthouse to be prefabricated in New Zealand, this is the landfall light for vessels arriving in Auckland from the east. The island is a nature reserve and is included in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. Located on a small island in the southern entrance to Hauraki Gulf, southeast of Great Barrier Island. Accessible only by boat; the island is closed to the public, but ecotours from Auckland sometimes provide a view from the sea. Site and tower closed. Operator: Maritime New Zealand. Site manager: N.Z. Department of Conservation (Hauraki Gulf Marine Park). ARLHS NZL-018; Admiralty K3886; NGA 4284.
Slipper Island
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 103 m (338 ft); two white flashes every 15 s. 4 m (13 ft) round cylindrical lantern, painted white. Google has a satellite view. Slipper Island is a small, privately-owned resort island. Located on the eastern end of the island, which lies about 8 km (5 mi) southeast of Pauanui on the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula southeast of Auckland. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Operator/site manager: Maritime New Zealand. ARLHS NZL-063; Admiralty K3896; NGA 4300.
Tauranga Entrance Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); continuous green light; also continuous red, green and white directional lights shown by arrangement for arriving vessels. 13 m (43 ft) white beacon with a vertical black stripe on the range line. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Tauranga is a rapidly growing port, now New Zealand's fifth largest city. Located near the beach on the west side of the harbor entrance. Site status unknown. Admiralty K3899.4; NGA 4328.

Cuvier Island Light, Huaraki Gulf
Maritime New Zealand photo
Tauranga Entrance Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); continuous green light. 19 m (62 ft) white beacon with a vertical black stripe on the range line. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located 252 m (275 yd) south southwest of the front light. Site status unknown. Admiralty K3899.41; NGA 4332.

Gisborne Region Lighthouses
* East Cape
1900 (relocated to this site in 1922). Active; focal plane 154 m (505 ft); white flash every 10 s. 14 m (46 ft) round cast iron tower with lantern and gallery, painted white; lantern roof is black. Other light station buildings demolished. A photo is at right, Daniel Pietzsch has a good photo, Phillips has photos, a May 2006 photo shows the tower freshly painted, Wikimedia has a closeup, and Google has a satellite view. The lighthouse marks the easternmost point of New Zealand; it is claimed (correctly) that this lighthouse, located only 128 km (80 mi) west of the International Date Line, is the first lighthouse to see the sunrise of a new day. It was built originally on East Island, about 3 km (2 mi) off the cape, but was relocated to the mainland after earthquake-triggered landslides threatened that location. The site is spectacular. Located at the end of East Cape Road about 20 km (19 mi) east of NZ 35 at Te Araroa. Parking provided, but it's a stiff climb up more than 500 steps to the lighthouse. Site open, tower closed. Operator/site manager: Maritime New Zealand. ARLHS NZL-020; Admiralty K3932; NGA 4436.
Tuaheni (Tuahene) Point (3)
1911 (station established 1905). Inactive since the 1950s. Approx. 24 m (79 ft) structure, including an 8 m (26 ft) octagonal cast iron tower with lantern and gallery, now in ruins, perched atop a tall concrete pillar. The iron tower is red with rust. Jordan Kappely has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. The first lighthouse burned soon after it was built, and its replacement (1909) was damaged by a landslide. The light has been moved to a post atop the headland above the cape (focal plane 128 m (420 ft); white light, 2 s on, 6 s off). Tuaheni Point is a sharp cape at the eastern end of Poverty Bay. Located on a rock just off the tip of the point, about 6 km (3.5 mi) southeast of Gisborne at the south end of Wainui Beach. Site open, but difficult to access; tower closed. Admiralty K3934; NGA 4460.

Hawke's Bay Region Lighthouses
Portland Island (2)
1958 (station established 1878). Active; focal plane 187 m (614 ft); three white flashes every 20 s. 8 m (26 ft) square pyramidal steel tower with slatted daymark painted white. Google has a satellite view. The original lighthouse was relocated to Wairoa (next entry). Resident keepers maintained the new light until 1982. Located on Portland Island, just off the tip of the Mahia Peninsula, at the northern entrance to Hawkes Bay about 65 km (40 mi) southeast of Wairoa. Accessible only by boat; the island is a privately owned sheep farm. Site status unknown. Operator/site manager: Maritime New Zealand. ARLHS NZL-042; Admiralty K3970; NGA 4488.
East Cape Light
East Cape Light, East Cape, March 2010
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Mark (aa440)
* Portland Island (1) (relocated to Wairoa)
1878 (John Blackett). Inactive since 1958 (a decorative light is displayed until 11 pm each night). 8.5 m (28 ft) hexagonal wood tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. The lantern contains the original 2nd order(?) Fresnel lens. The lighthouse was relocated in 1961 to Wairoa, where it is the town's best known landmark and historical site. Philip Fierlinger has an excellent photo, Phil Rickerby has a 2008 closeup, the Wairoa District Council website also has a photo, and Bing has a satellite view. Located on the west side of the Wairoa River at the NZ 2 bridge, about 3 km (2 mi) north of the ocean. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: Wairoa District Council.
#Whirinaki Point (Whirinaki Bluff)
Date unknown. Demolished and removed in 2006. This light was described as a 16 m (52 ft) tower, painted with red and white horizontal bands. No photo available, and Google's satellite view of the location shows no trace of the structure. Located on a bluff about 20 km (13 mi) north of Napier. Site status unknown. ARLHS NZL-057; ex-Admiralty K3980.
* Napier Southern Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); continuous red light. 16 m (52 ft) square pyramidal wood skeletal tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. The seaward face of the lighthouse also carries a white slatted daymark. Werning's photo is at right, a 2012 photo is available, Simon Klaus has a photo of both range lights, and Google has a satellite view. Located off the Main North Road about 3.5 km (2.5 mi) north of Napier. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K3982.1; NGA 4500.
* Napier Common Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); continuous light, white in the direction of the Napier Southern Range and green elsewhere. 21 m (69 ft) square pyramidal wood skeletal tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. The seaward face of the lighthouse also carries a slatted daymark painted white with a red vertical stripe. Simon Klaus has a photo of both range lights, and Google has a satellite view. Another Google satellite view shows the northern front light on an 18 m (95 ft) post with gallery. Located 331 m (362 yd) west of the Southern front light. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K3982; NGA 4504.
* Napier Westshore (Leading Light)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); flash every 10 s, white, red or green depending on direction. The tower also carries the South Pania Channel Directional Light. 13 m (43 ft) post with a large rectangular gallery. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located beside the Main North Road just north of the Napier Airport. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K3982.8.
* Port Napier East Pier
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 10 m (33 ft); continuous white, red or green light; also a red light, 2 s on, 2 s off. 5 m (17 ft) hexagonal harbor control building, painted blue. John Eggers has a distant view, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the east side of the entrance to the small boat harbor of Napier. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K3984; NGA 4516.
Napier Southern Range Front Light
Napier Southern Range Front Light, Napier
photo copyright Malte Werning; used by permission
* Napier Harbour
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 28 m (92 ft); white, red or green light, continuous or alternating, depending on direction. Lights mounted atop a round silo owned by the Holcim Cement company. Colin Crook has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the wharf of Napier Harbour. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K3983.15; NGA 4555.
* [Cape Kidnappers]
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 112 m (367 ft); two white flashes every 15 s. 4 m (13 ft) square cylindrical steel tower topped by a short mast. Though too small to be considered a real lighthouse, this little tower is well known as the site of a huge nesting colony of Australian gannets. A blogger reports on a visit to the cape and has a photo of the light (3/4 the way down the page). Google has a satellite view. Frequently visited by ecotours. Located on the cape at the southern end of Hawkes Bay about 15 miles east of Hastings. Site open, tower closed. Operator/site manager: Maritime New Zealand. ARLHS NZL-009; Admiralty K3992; NGA 4564.

Wellington Region Lighthouses

Masterton District (East Coast) Lighthouse
* Castle Point
1913. Active; focal plane 52 m (170 ft); three white flashes every 30 s. 23 m (75 ft) round cast iron tower with lantern and gallery, painted white; lantern roof is gray. The original 2nd order Fresnel lens continues in use. Other light station buildings demolished. Ari Bakker's photo is at right, Zachary Gleisner has a fine closeup photo, Keith Miller has a photo, Phillips has photos, and Google has a satellite view. The lighthouse was prefabricated in Wellington. In 2001 there was a report the lighthouse might be deactivated, but this did not happen. The causeway connecting the station to the mainland was demolished in 2008 because it had become unsafe, but it is still possible to reach the lighthouse on foot except during the highest tides. Located at the end of Castlepoint Road about 65 km (40 mi) southeast of Masterton. Site open, tower closed. Operator/site manager: Maritime New Zealand. ARLHS NZL-016; Admiralty K3994; NGA 4572.

Eastern Cook Strait Lighthouses
Note: Cook Strait, the passage between New Zealand's North and South Islands, is named for James Cook, who discovered it in 1770. West of Wellington the strait narrows to 23 km (14 mi) in width. Strong currents and rocky shoals make the passage a difficult one for navigators.
* Cape Palliser
1897. Active; focal plane 78 m (256 ft); two white flashes every 20 s. 18 m (59 ft) round cast iron tower with lantern and gallery, painted with red and white horizontal bands. The original 2nd order Fresnel lens continues in use. The two keeper's houses are now private residences. Werning has a good photo, Walter Davis has a good closeup photo, and Bing has a satellite view. Prefabricated in Wellington, the lighthouse marks the extreme southeastern tip of the North Island and the eastern entrance to Cook Strait and Wellington. The tower was repainted early in 2008, as seen in an April photo. A gravel road reaches the light station; 4WD recommended. There's a climb of 258 steps to the lighthouse. Site open, tower closed. Operator/site manager: Maritime New Zealand. ARLHS NZL-011; Admiralty 4000; NGA K4580.
Castle Point Light
Castle Point Light, Castlepoint, May 2007
Flickr Creative Commons photo
by Ari Bakker
Baring Head
1935. Active; focal plane 87 m (286 ft); white light, 9 s on, 6 s off. 12 m (40 ft) octagonal concrete tower with six ribs, lantern, and gallery. Lighthouse painted white; lantern dome is gray. Weather station. A closeup photo and a 2011 photo are available, Mulcahy has an MNZ photo, and Google has a satellite view. The last traditional lighthouse built in New Zealand, this tower replaced the older Pencarrow Head Light as the entrance light for the approach to Wellington. In 2005, the light was moved to an LED beacon mounted on the gallery. The site commands a spectacular view across Cook Strait. Located on a headland about 40 km (25 mi) southeast of Wellington, marking the eastern entrance to Somes Sound. According to Maritime New Zealand, the area is closed to the public, but it seems that some members of the public reach the site by climbing a fence and hiking about 2.5 km (1.5 mi). Site and tower closed. Operator/site manager: Maritime New Zealand. ARLHS NZL-002; Admiralty K4004; NGA 4584.
** Pencarrow (1) (Old Pencarrow Head)
1859. Inactive since 1935. 11.5 m (38 ft) tapered octagonal cast iron tower with lantern and gallery, painted white; lantern roof is black. Aidan Wojdas's photo is at right, a January 2006 photo shows the lighthouse freshly painted and apparently in excellent condition, a 2009 photo is available, and Bing has a satellite view. New Zealand's oldest lighthouse was designed by Colonial Engineer Edward Roberts, prefabricated in England by Woodside Ironworks, and installed by Edward George Wright. Deactivated in 1935 in favor of the Baring Head lighthouse, the lighthouse was transferred to the N.Z. Historic Places Trust in 1966. In June 2008, the Trust completed a project to restore the lantern roof. Located atop the headland in East Harbour Regional Park. Accessible by bicycle or by a hike of about two hours one way from Burdans Gate on the Pencarrow Coastal Road south of Eastbourne. Site open. Tower status is not clear; apparently the tower is open for climbing. Owner/site manager: N.Z. Historic Places Trust. ARLHS NZL-068.
* Pencarrow (2) (Pencarrow Sector)
1906. Active; focal plane 18 m (60 ft); three flashes, red or white depending on direction, every 12 s. 17 m (56 ft) octagonal concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Entire lighthouse painted white. Richard Mayston has a good closeup, Aidan Wojdas has a photo, a photo showing both Pencarrow lighthouses is available, and Bing has a satellite view. A 2009 photo shows that the lighthouse was repainted and refurbished in that year. Built as a steel skeletal tower, this lighthouse was encased in concrete during the 1930s. Located on the beach below the original lighthouse; accessible by bicycle or by a hike of about two hours one way from Burdans Gate on the Pencarrow Coastal Road south of Eastbourne. Site open, tower closed. Owner/operator: Greater Wellington Harbour. Site manager: East Harbour Regional Park. ARLHS NZL-039; Admiralty K4006; NGA 4588.
Old Pencarrow Light
1859 Pencarrow Light, Lower Hutt, October 2007
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Aidan Wojdas

Wellington Harbour Lighthouses
Wellington Entrance Range Front
Date unknown (station established 1915). Active; focal plane 7 m (23 ft); quick-flashing white light. 4 m (13 ft) round cast iron lantern mounted on a square platform supported by pilings. Lantern painted white. A 2012 photo is available, and Bing has a satellite view. Located on the east side of the Wellington entrance channel about 2 km (1.25 mi) east of the Seatoun neighborhood of the city. Accessible only by boat. Owner/operator: Greater Wellington Harbour. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K4010; NGA 4592.
Hope Shoal (Wellington Entrance Range Rear)
Date unknown (station established 1915). Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); white, red, or green light, depending on direction, 2 s on , 2 s off. 17 m (56 ft) round steel caisson topped by a round post light. Lighthouse painted with orange and yellow vertical stripes. A distant view is available, and Bing has a satellite view. Located in Somes Sound about 2.1 km (1.34 mi) north of the front light and 700 m (770 yd) southwest of Makaro (Ward) Island. Accessible only by boat. Owner/operator: Greater Wellington Harbour. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K4010.1; NGA 4596.
* Matiu/Somes Island (2)
1900 (station established 1866). Active; focal plane 29 m (95 ft); light on 4 s, off 6 s: white, red, or green depending on direction of approach. Approx. 9 m (30 ft) round cylindrical tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a small workshed. Lighthouse painted white; lantern roof is black. The other light station buildings were demolished after automation in 1924. Peter Hodge's photo is at right, David Leverton has a closeup photo, a 2011 photo is available, and Bing has a satellite view. The original light here, a small octagonal cast iron tower, was relocated in 1903 to Tuhawaiki Point near Timaru on South Island. The island, formerly a quarantine station for both people and animals, was closed to the public until 1995. Now it is a well known ecological reserve and sanctuary for native wildlife, accessible from downtown Wellington by passenger ferry. Located on the south side of the island in Wellington Harbour. Site open, tower closed. Owner/operator: Greater Wellington Harbour. Site manager: N.Z. Department of Conservation (Matiu/Somes Island Sanctuary). ARLHS NZL-047; Admiralty K4014; NGA 4620.
* Point Halswell
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 8 m (26 ft); white flash every 3 s. 8 m (26 ft) octagonal concrete tower with gallery, painted in a black and white checkerboard pattern. Tre Lan has a closeup photo, Filip Hanzelka also has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located just off the tip of the Miramar Peninsula, which projects northward into Wellington Harbour. Site and tower closed, but there's a good view from Massey Road a few feet from the lighthouse. Owner/operator: Greater Wellington Harbour. ARLHS NZL-061; Admiralty K4018; NGA 4708.
Somes Island Light
Matiu/Somes Island Light looking toward Wellington, March 2009
Flickr Creative Commons photo
by Peter Hodge

Western Cook Strait Lighthouses
Karori Rock
1915. Inactive since 1996. 20 m (65 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern. One of New Zealand's first automated lighthouses, this tower was built after the steamer Penguin wrecked on the rock in 1909. Difficult to service or repair due to its highly exposed location, it was replaced by the Tongue Point Light in 1996. The tower has a definite lean and is called "Wellington's leaning lighthouse." A photo by Wade Tregaskis is at right, Chris Bryant also has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located on an islet in Cook Strait off the western entrance to Wellington Harbour. Accessible only by boat; there are distant views from Tongue Point. Owner/site manager: Maritime New Zealand. ARLHS NZL-031.
[Tongue Point]
1996. Active; focal plane 44 m (144 ft); flash every 4 s, alternating red and white. 4 m (13 ft) square cylindrical steel tower topped by a short mast. Google has a satellite view. Sibling of the Cape Kidnappers Light (above). The lighthouse replaced the Karori Rock Light. The area is famous for its seal colonies. Located on a bluff above Cook Strait southwest of Wellington. Accessible by 4WD. Site open, tower closed. Operator/site manager: Maritime New Zealand. ARLHS NZL-064; Admiralty K4062.1; NGA 4717.
[Mana Island]
1865. Inactive since 1877. The original lighthouse, seen below, was was relocated to Cape Egmont in 1881 after being deactivated in favor of The Brothers Light (see South Island). The brick foundation of the lighthouse remains; a square pyramidal daymarker has been built on it. Charles Jarvie has a closeup photo, and Google has a satellite view. Mana Island is a 3 km (2 mi) long island located about 3 km (2 mi) offshore and 8 km (5 mi) west of the entrance to Porirua harbor. Located at the northwest point of the island, accessible by a popular hiking trail. Site open. Site manager: N.Z. Department of Conservation (Mana Island Scientific Reserve).
Karori Rock Light
Karori Rock Light, Wellington, March 2008
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Wade Tregaskis

Taranaki Region (West Coast) Lighthouses

* Cape Egmont
1865 (relocated to this site in 1881). Active; focal plane 33 m (109 ft); white flash every 8 s. 20 m (65 ft) round cast iron tower with lantern and gallery, painted white; lantern roof is black. The original 1st order Fresnel lens, removed in 2000, is now displayed in a 2/3 replica of the lighthouse at Warea. Dave Young's photo is at right, Mike Hollman has a fine 2009 photo, J.J. Brophy has a good photo, Mel Hodgkinson has another photo, Phillips has photos, and Bing has a satellite view. The Taranaki volcano stands behind the lighthouse in the Hollman and Brophy photos. Prefabricated in England by McLean, Simpson and Co., the lighthouse was first constructed on Mana Island near Wellington, but its light was confused with that of the Pencarrow Head Light. The tower was relocated to Cape Egmont in 1877, but was not activated there until 1881. A sibling of the Tiritiri Matangi Light, the lighthouse marks the southwesternmost point of North Island and the northwestern entrance to Cook Strait. Located at the end of Cape Road near Pungarehu. Site open, tower closed. Operator/site manager: Maritime New Zealand. ARLHS NZL-007; Admiralty K4088; NGA 4788.
New Plymouth (Mikotahi) (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 30 m (98 ft); two white flashes every 5 s. 28 m (92 ft) round brick tower, the smokestack of a power plant. A photo is available (click on the photo; at high resolution the light at the top of the stack is visible). Google has a satellite view. This light apparently replaced a light on a skeletal tower described by NGA. Located at Taranaki Harbour on the west side of New Plymouth. Site and tower closed. Admiralty K4090; NGA 4804.

Cape Egmont Light, Cape Egmont, August 2007
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Dave Young

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

  • Island Bay, on Cook Strait near Wellington, is a bed and breakfast inn; it is not an active lighthouse.

Adjoining pages: North: Fiji | South: South Island

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Posted April 2, 2004. Checked and revised April 2, 2013. Lighthouses: 40. Site copyright 2013 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.