Lighthouses of New Zealand: South Island

New Zealand includes two large islands, North Island and South Island, with many smaller islands. North Island and South Island are separated by Cook Strait.This page describes lighthouses of South Island and nearby smaller islands. South Island is the larger of the two main islands, but because of its rugged topography it has a much smaller population.

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. 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.

New Zealand is divided into 16 regions, nine on North Island and seven on South Island.

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.
Lighthouses of Foveaux Strait - a History
A 144 page report by Angela Bain, published by the N.Z. Department of Conservation.
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.

Moeraki Light
Katiki Point (Moeraki) Light, Otago, March 2009
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Sheep"R"Us

Cook Strait (South Side) Lighthouses

Tasman Region Lighthouses
[Pillar Point (Cape Farewell)]
1930. Active; focal plane 166 m (545 ft); white flash every 5 s. 4 m (13 ft) square cylindrical steel tower. Paul Webby has a photo, another photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. This modest light is the main landfall light for vessels arriving in New Zealand from the west. Located atop Pillar Point, one of the headlands of Cape Farewell, the northernmost point of South Island. Accessible by a primitive road. Site open, and ecotours visit the area; tower closed. Operator/site manager: Maritime New Zealand. ARLHS NZL-040; Admiralty K4180; NGA 4916.
Farewell Spit (Bush End Point) (2)
1897 (station established 1870). Active; focal plane 30 m (98 ft); flash every 15 s, white or red (red is shown for vessels approaching from the north). 27 m (88 ft) square pyramidal steel skeletal tower with lantern, gallery, and enclosed watch room. Lantern and watch room painted orange; tower legs and gallery rail painted white; the lantern dome is gray. The 1-story wood keeper's quarters appears occupied (perhaps by a park ranger). James Barwell's photo is at right, another closeup is available, Phillips has a good page with historical photos, and Google has a satellite view. Similar in design to many Canadian lights, this lighthouse is unique in New Zealand. It replaced a 34 m (112 ft) octagonal wood skeletal tower that did not hold up well in the vigorous weather of the strait. The original Fresnel lens, removed in 1999, is on display in one of the service buildings of the station. The sandy Farewell Spit extends eastward more than 25 km (15 mi) from Cape Farewell, enclosing Golden Bay. The area is a critically important bird nesting area, closed to casual visits. Located at Bush End Point near the end of the spit; accessible only by guided ecotours. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Maritime New Zealand. Site Manager: N.Z. Department of Conservation (Farewell Spit and Puponga Farm Park). ARLHS NZL-022; Admiralty K4182; NGA 4920.

Nelson Region Lighthouse
* Nelson (Boulder Bank)
1862. Inactive since 1982. 18 m (60 ft) octagonal cast iron tower with lantern and gallery, painted white; lantern roof is black. Prefabricated in England by Stothart and Pitt of Bath. The keeper's houses were relocated to Nelson in 1916; we do not know if they survive. Murray Neill has a closeup photo, a view from the Port Nelson waterfront is available, Phillips has a page for the lighthouse, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view and a distant street view. The lighthouse was retired because it could no longer be seen clearly against the lights of the growing town; prior to deactivation it was New Zealand's oldest active lighthouse. In 2011 the harbor authority proposed a plan to install a decorative light in the tower, the light being directed toward the town and not toward the sea. Lily Robertson wrote a memoir of her life as a child at the lighthouse in the 1880s; she provided a historic photo of the light station. Located across from the Nelson waterfront on Boulder Bank, a long, rocky barrier beach sheltering the harbor of Nelson, at the south end of Tasman Bay. Nearly all access is by boat; it would be a very difficult hike of 30 km (19 mi) round trip to reach the lighthouse by walking the length of the bank. The lighthouse is easily visible from the Nelson waterfront. Site open, tower closed. Owner: N.Z. Historic Places Trust. Operator/site manager: Port Nelson Ltd. ARLHS NZL-004.
Farewell Spit Light
Farewell Spit Light, Tasman, December 2005
Flickr Creative Commons photo by James Barwell

Marlborough Region Lighthouses
* French Pass (Channel Point)
1884. Active; focal plane 3 m (10 ft); continuous light, red or white depending on direction of approach. 5 m (17 ft) round lantern, painted white, mounted on a round stone pedestal. Red filters on adjustable panels are used to set the sector boundaries precisely. A wooden bridge connects the tower to the shore. Mulcahy has a photo, Phillips has a good page for the lighthouse, this light is on the right of Wikipedia's photo of the pass, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view. French Pass, the channel between D'Urville Island and the mainland, is a narrow passage used by inter-island shipping between Nelson on the South Island and Wellington on the North Island. Strong tidal currents race through the strait. This tiny lighthouse, built to mark the difficult channel, was tended by a keeper until 1967. Located on the mainland (south) shore of the pass. Site status unknown, but the village of French Pass can be reached by road from NZ 6 at Rai Valley, east of Nelson. Operator/site manager: Maritime New Zealand. ARLHS NZL-024; Admiralty K4238; NGA List 5028.
French Pass Reef
1882 (there was an unlit beacon here from the 1860s). Active; focal plane 5 m (16 ft); white flash every 1.5 s. 5 m (16 ft) round cylindrical tower, painted white, mounted on a stone pedestal. A photo is available, this light is on the left of Wikipedia's photo of the pass, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. The French Pass channel is between this light and the previous one. Tended by the French Pass keeper until 1967. Located on a reef in the pass. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Operator/site manager: Maritime New Zealand. ARLHS NZL-069; Admiralty K4240; NGA 5032.
Stephens Island
1894. Active; focal plane 183 m (600 ft); white flash every 6 s. 15 m (50 ft) round cast iron tower with lantern and gallery, painted white; lantern roof is gray. A photo is at right, Mike Parfitt has a view from the sea, Phillips has a page for the lighthouse, and Google has a satellite view. New Zealand's highest light marks the northwestern entrance to Cook Strait; it has a range of more than 50 km (30 mi). Stephen's Island, also known by its native name Takapourewa, is the home of several very rare species of wildlife including the tuatara (an unusual lizard-like reptile). Located at the northern end of the steep-sided island, northeast of the much larger D'Urville Island. Inaccessible to the public. Site and tower closed (ecological reserve); special permits are required. Operator: Maritime New Zealand. Site Manager: N.Z. Department of Conservation (Stephens Island Nature Reserve). ARLHS NZL-048; Admiralty K4236; NGA 5044.
Cape Jackson Rock
1903. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); white flash every 4 s. 15 m (49 ft) round concrete tower topped by a short cylindrical metal lantern; lantern painted white. A view from the sea is available, TrueNZ Guides has a distant photo (near the bottom of the page), and Bing has a satellite view. Cape Jackson is a slender, snake-like, rocky peninsula jutting into Cook Strait about 50 km (30 mi) east of Stephens Island. In 2001 the official Cape Jackson Light was moved to the small modern tower at the tip of the peninsula (seen in Steve Bittinger's 2010 photo), but the old lighthouse also remains in service. The Russian cruise ship Mikhail Lermentov wrecked here in 1986 trying to pass between the lighthouse and the mainland. Maritime New Zealand repaired and upgraded the light in 2010. Located on a bare rock about 650 m (0.4 mi) off the end of the peninsula. Inaccessible, but there are good views from the end of the Outer Queen Charlotte Track, a two-day walk from Ship Cove. (The land is privately owned and access is controlled to protect the environment; reservation is required for a hiking permit.) Site and tower closed. Operator: Maritime New Zealand. Site manager: Queen Charlotte Wilderness Park. ARLHS NZL-070; Admiralty K4244.5; NGA 5089.

Stephens Island Light, Cook Strait
Maritime New Zealand photo
The Brothers (Brothers Island)
1877. Active; focal plane 79 m (259 ft); white flash every 10 s (a red flash is shown in two sectors). 12. 5 m (41 ft) hexagonal wood tower with lantern and gallery; external wood bracing helps steady the tower against fierce winds. Tower painted white, lantern black. Mulcahy has an MSA photo, and Wikimedia has a view from the sea, but the island is only a blur in Bing's satellite view. This lighthouse replaced the Mana Island Light, which was moved to Cape Egmont (see the North Island page). It helps guide vessels through the narrowest passage of the strait, west of Wellington. In 2001 the lighthouse was solarized, in part so that toxic substances from storage batteries would not endanger the wildlife. The island is closed to the public. Located atop a rocky island in Cook Strait west of Wellington. Site and tower closed; the light is visible distantly from Cook Strait ferries. Operator: Maritime New Zealand. Site Manager: N.Z. Department of Conservation (The Brothers Sanctuary). ARLHS NZL-051; Admiralty K4246; NGA 5176.
* Okukari Bay (Tory Channel) Range Front
1881. Active; focal plane 7.5 m (25 ft); quick-flashing white light. 6.5 m (21 ft) square pyramidal wood tower, painted white with an orange vertical stripe on the front face. A photo is available, a historical article has a photo of both range lights, and Google has a satellite view. This range guides interisland ferries sailing from Wellington to Picton through the narrow Tory Channel as they leave Cook Strait. The two lights are the only examples of their type still in use. Located on the east side of Okukari Bay. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K4264; NGA 5168.
* Okukari Bay (Tory Channel) Range Rear
1881. Active; focal plane 27 m (89 ft); white light, 1 s on, 1 s off. 6.5 m (21 ft) square pyramidal wood tower, painted white with an orange vertical stripe on the front face. A historical article has a photo of both range lights, an aerial photo of the two lights, and Google has a satellite view. This light is identical to the front light. Located 130 m (427 ft) northwest of the front light. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K4264.1; NGA 5172.
* Cape Campbell (2)
1905 (station established 1870). Active; focal plane 47 m (155 ft); white flash every 15 s. 22 m (73 ft) round cast iron tower with lantern and gallery, painted with black and white horizontal bands. Gayle Blanch's photo is at right, Phillips has a page for the lighthouse, a 2009 photo shows the lighthouse freshly painted, and Bing has a satellite view. This is one of only a few New Zealand lighthouses with colored bands; here the bands help distinguish the tower from the white bluff on which it stands. The lighthouse marks the southeastern entrance to Cook Strait. Located on the cape about 30 miles southeast of Blenheim; accessible by a short hike from the parking area at the end of Marfells Beach Road, off NZ 1 south of Lake Grassmere. Site open, tower closed. Operator/site manager: Maritime New Zealand. ARLHS NZL-006; Admiralty K4274; NGA 5188.
Cape Campbell Light
Cape Campbell Light, Marlborough, March 2009
Flickr photo copyright Gayle Blanch; used by permission

Canterbury Region (East Coast) Lighthouses

Kaikoura Lighthouse
* Point Kean (Kaikoura Peninsula)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 41 m (135 ft); two white flashes every 15 s. 4 m (13 ft) round lantern mounted on a square concrete pad. Lantern painted yellow. Mulcahy has Davina King's photo, another photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the tip of the Kaikoura Peninsula, a prominent headland just south of the town of Kaikoura and about 175 km (110 mi) north of Christchurch. Accessible by a short walk uphill from the parking area at the tip of the peninsula. Site open, lantern fenced. Admiralty K4275; NGA 5192.

Christchurch Area Lighthouses
Note: The Christchurch area was damaged heavily by earthquakes in September 2010 and February 2011.
#Godley Head (2)
1940 (?) (relocated lantern of 1865 lighthouse). Active; focal plane 97 m (318 ft); three long (2 s) white flashes every 26 s. 6 m (20 ft) octagonal lantern, painted white with a gray roof. Adjoining 1-story equipment building painted white with a red roof. Phillips has a page for the lighthouse, a 2008 closeup photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Huelse has a historic postcard view of the original lighthouse, a round stone tower located atop the bluff. That lighthouse was demolished at the start of World War II because it interfered with the line of fire of coastal defense artillery. The lantern was removed and relocated down the slope, where it remained. After the earthquakes of 2010-11, the lighthouse was described as clinging to the cliff "by its toenails." In July 2013, the lighthouse was lifted by helicopter and flown to a Department of Conservation facility, where it will be stored awaiting restoration at some undefined future time. Formerly located on a headland at the entrance to Lyttelton Harbour about 8 km (5 mi) east of Lyttelton and 20 km (13 mi) southeast of Christchurch. Site closed. The lighthouse could be seen distantly from the Tunnel Path, which descends to the shore; Aidan Wojdas has a photo showing this view. Site and tower closed. Site manager: N.Z. Department of Conservation (Godley Head Recreation Area). ARLHS NZL-025; Admiralty K4286; NGA 5232.
* Lyttelton Harbour (Gladstone Quay)
1878 (?). Active; focal plane 8 m (26 ft); green light occulting once every 6 s. 6 m (20 ft) octagonal wood tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted white, lantern dome and gallery rail dark green. Paige Valentine has a 2008 closeup, and Phillip Capper has a view from outside the harbor. The two earthquakes partially collapsed the quay and left the lighthouse with a severe lean; Phillips has a photo taken after the September 2010 quake that shows this lean, and John Abel has an April 2011 photo. Google has a satellite view showing the damaged pier after the lighthouse was removed for restoration. The quay and lighthouse have been repaired, as seen in Povl Abrahamsen's January 2012 photo. Located at the end of the historic Gladstone Quay on the east side of the entrance to Lyttelton harbor. Formerly accessible by walking the quay. Current site status unknown. Operator: Lyttelton Port Corporation. Admiralty K4300; NGA 5272.
Shag Reef Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 10 m (33 ft); white flash every 1.5 s. 7 m (23 ft) round concrete tower with gallery, mounted on a hexagonal wood platform supported by piles. A photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. The status of this light following the earthquakes is not known. The range guides vessels on their approach to Lyttelton. Located about 500 m (0.3 mi) south of the inner harbor entrance. Accessible only by boat, but there are good views from shore. Site open, tower closed. Operator/site manager: Lyttelton Port Corporation. Admiralty K4290; NGA 5256.
Shag Reef Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); white light, 2 s on, 3 s off. 16 m (52 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower, mounted on a round concrete pier. The east side of the tower (facing the range) is painted in a red and yellow checkerboard pattern. In a photo of the Lyttleton yacht harbor, the light can be seen over the end of the pier (click on the photo for a better view). Google has a satellite view. The status of this light following the earthquakes is not known. Located on a rocky reef, 963 m (0.6 mi) west of the front light. Accessible only by boat, but there are good views from shore. Site open, tower closed. Operator/site manager: Lyttelton Port Corporation. Admiralty K4290.1; NGA 5260.

Akaroa Area Lighthouses
Steep Head
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 156 m (512 ft); white flash every 5 s. 4 m (13 ft) round lantern mounted on a square concrete pad. Lantern painted white. Mulcahy has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located atop a vertical cliff at the eastern tip of the rugged Banks Peninsula, which extends into the Pacific southeast of Christchurch. Site status unknown. ARLHS NZL-086; Admiralty K4310; NGA 5280.
** Akaroa Head (1)
1880. Inactive since 1980 (sometimes lit on holidays and special occasions). Approx. 12 m (40 ft) hexagonal wood tower with lantern and gallery, painted white with red trim; lantern painted black. Original Fresnel lens. Adrian Tritschler's photo is at right, a more distant view shows the setting of the lighthouse, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. The lighthouse was originally located at the entrance to Akaroa Harbour, on the southeast corner of the Banks Peninsula; it was replaced by a 3 m (10 ft) fiberglass tower (focal plane 68 m (223 ft); white flash every 10 s). The lighthouse was relocated (in three sections) and is now a tourist attraction on the Akaroa waterfront. The Akaroa Lighthouse Preservation Society was formed to save the lighthouse and now works for its preservation. The Akaroa area escaped serious damage during the earthquakes. Located at Cemetery Point, Beach Road, Akaroa, about 65 km (40 mi) southeast of Christchurch. Limited parking available. Site open; tower open Sunday afternoons and during the Christmas holidays. Owner: Akaroa Civic Trust. Site manager: Akaroa Lighthouse Preservation Society. ARLHS NZL-001; Admiralty K4314; NGA 5284.

Akaroa Head Light, Akaroa, November 2007
Flickr Creative Commons photo
by Adrian Tritschler

Timaru Area Lighthouses
* Timaru Harbour (Blackett's Lighthouse)
1878 (John Blackett). Inactive since 1970 (listed as a daybeacon for navigation). Approx. 9 m (30 ft) square pyramidal wood tower with lantern and gallery, painted white with red trim; lantern roof is red. Maree Reveley has a closeup photo, J. Baines has a photo, and Mulcahy also has a photo. Originally located on a small island in Timaru Harbour, it was relocated in 1980 to Maori Park on the Timaru waterfront. In 2010, this location was the proposed site for the Caroline Bay Aquatic Centre, so in November 2010 the lighthouse was moved to a site atop a cliff overlooking the bay at the end of Benvenue Avenue. Francis Vallance has a photo of the refurbished lighthouse at its new home, another photo is available, and Google has a street view and a satellite view of the lighthouse at its new location. Site open, tower closed. Owner: N.Z. Historic Places Trust. Site manager: Timaru District Council. ARLHS NZL-052.
* Timaru Outer North Mole
Date unknown (station established 1891). Active; focal plane 10 m (33 ft); green flash every 10 s. 8 m (26 ft) square equipment building on piles; the light is shown from a short post atop the building. Lighthouse painted white. Zita Smith has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the tip of the mole, which is one of the major quays of Timaru Harbour. Site status unknown, probably open; tower closed. Admiralty K4329.4; NGA List 5308.
Tuhawaiki Point (Jack's Point)
1903 (relocated 1866 lighthouse). Active; focal plane 29 m (95 ft); white light, 2 s on, 8 s off. 9 m (30 ft) octagonal cylindrical cast iron tower with lantern and gallery; 250 mm lens. Entire lighthouse painted white. A Maritime New Zealand photo is at right, Phillips has a page for the lighthouse, and Bing has a satellite view. This prefabricated lighthouse was installed in 1866 at Somes (Matiu) Island in Wellington Harbour, North Island. Replaced there in 1900 by a larger structure, it was briefly stored and then reinstalled here in 1903 by the Timaru Harbour Board. The point is named for a Maori chief, Hone (Jack) Tuhawaiki. Located about 1 km (0.6 mi) north of the end of Ellis Road off NZ 1 on the south side of Timaru. Site status unknown; it appears that private property surrounds the lighthouse, and the lack of photos online suggests that the area is not generally accessible. Operator/site manager: Maritime New Zealand. ARLHS NZL-028; Admiralty K4340; NGA List 5344.
Tuhawaiki Point Light
Tuhawaiki Point Light, Timaru
Maritime New Zealand photo

Otago Region (Southeast Coast) Lighthouses

Oemaru Area Lighthouses
* Cape Wanbrow (2)
1944 (station established 1874). Inactive. Approx. 3 m (10 ft) square lantern room, originally painted white, set in the side of a bluff. Werning has a good photo, and Google has a satellite view. The structure looks more like an observation post than a lighthouse, and in fact it was built as part of an artillery installation in 1943. Abandoned and open to the elements. Located in the Cape Wanbrow Reserve on the south side of Oamaru; accessible by a short hike on the Silver Hill Trail from King George Park. Site and lantern room open. Site manager; N.Z. Department of Conservation (Cape Wanbrow Reserve). ARLHS NZL-015.
* Katiki Point (Moeraki)
1878. Active; focal plane 58 m (190 ft); white light, 6 s on, 6 s off. 8.5 m (28 ft) hexagonal wood tower with lantern and gallery, painted white with red trim; lantern painted black. A sibling of the Akaroa Head Light. A photo appears at the top of this page, Mulcahy has a closeup photo, Phillips has a page for the lighthouse, Werning has a page with a fine photo, Wikimedia has several excellent photos, and Google has a satellite view. A September 2006 photo by Gregor Ronald shows the lighthouse freshly painted and in good condition. Located at the end of Lighthouse Road in Moeraki Township, about 25 km (15 mi) south of Oamaru. Parking available. Site open, tower closed. Operator/site manager: Maritime New Zealand. ARLHS NZL-034; Admiralty K4360; NGA 5368.

Dunedin Area Lighthouses
*
Taiaroa Head
1865 (Hugh Calder). Active; focal plane 60 m (197 ft); two long (2 s) white flashes every 18 s. 12 m (39 ft) round stone tower with lantern and gallery, painted white; lantern roof is red. 1-story signal building painted white with a red roof. Ulrich Lange's photo is at right, Nicholas Thompson has a good photo, Douglas Cameron also has a photo, and Google has a satellite view and a distant street view. The area surrounding the lighthouse is a nature reserve, the site of a large nesting colony of royal albatross. (This is the only place in the world where albatross nest near civilization.) Located at the northeastern tip of the Otago Peninsula about 32 km (20 mi) northeast of Dunedin, marking the entrance to Otago Harbour. Parking provided. Site and tower closed, but the lighthouse can be seen from albatross viewing platforms (viewing is closed during the nesting season from mid September to late November). Operator: Port Otago Ltd. Site manager: N.Z. Department of Conservation and Royal Albatross Centre. ARLHS NZL-049; Admiralty K4364; NGA 5396.

Taiaroa Head Light, Otago, December 2007
Wikimedia public domain photo by Ulrich Lange
[Cape Saunders (5)]
1880 (station established 1865). Active; focal plane 55 m (180 ft); white light, 2 s on, 8 s off. 3 m (10 ft) square aluminum post light, painted white. Two 1-story brick keeper's houses. Wikimedia has a distant view, and Google has a satellite view. Huelse has a historic postcard view of the original lighthouse, a hexagonal wood tower. In 1948 a lantern was relocated here from Kaipara North Head (see North Island); it was mounted on a wooden tower until 1954, then on a steel skeletal tower until 1967, then on the ground on a concrete pad. A photo (fifth photo on the page) shows the keeper's houses and the lantern on the ground. In 2006 the lantern was replaced by the modern beacon and returned to Kaipara for restoration and display. Located on the southeastern tip of the cape about 25 km (15 mi) east of Dunedin. Site and tower closed. Operator/site manager: Maritime New Zealand. ARLHS NZL-014; Admiralty K4376; NGA 5404.
* Nugget Point
1870. Active; focal plane 76 m (250 ft); white light, 2 s on, 2 s off, 2 s on, 6 s off. 9.5 m (31 ft) round cylindrical stone tower with lantern and gallery, attached to 1-story equipment building. Barnaby Madgett's photo is at right, Phillips has a page for the lighthouse, Dianna Narotsky has a good photo, Rian Long has a fine photo, Wikimedia has several photos, and Bing has a distant satellite view. The light station is perched spectacularly on a knife-edged ridge, but it is readily accessible by a hiking trail. Located at the end of a gravel road near Kaka Point, about 3 km (2 mi) south of Port Molyneux. It is about a 15 minute walk to the lighthouse from the parking area. Site open, tower closed. Operator/site manager: Maritime New Zealand. ARLHS NZL-038; Admiralty K4380; NGA 5408.
Nugget Point
Nugget Point Light, Port Molyneux, 2003
photo copyright Barnaby Madgett; used by permission

Southland Region Lighthouses

Foveaux Strait Lighthouses
[Slope Point]
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 33 m (108 ft); white flash every 5 s. 3 m (10 ft) round metal lantern, painted white. Toni Escuder has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. This is the southernmost light of South Island. Located on a sheep farm about 13 km (8 mi) east of Waipapa Point. Site status unknown (private property). ARLHS NZL-085; Admiralty K4382; NGA List 5416.
** Waipapa Point
1884. Active; focal plane 21 m (70 ft); five white flashes every 20 s. 13 m (44 ft) hexagonal wood tower with lantern and gallery, painted white with red trim; lantern roof is gray. Keeper's house and all other station buildings demolished. Jen Crothers's photo is at right, Phillips has a page for the lighthouse, and Google has a good satellite view. This lighthouse was built after the steamship Tararua wrecked nearby in 1881 with the loss of 131 lives. The lighthouse was in poor condition until 2008, when Maritime New Zealand announced a restoration project. Amy Millan's January 2008 photo shows the lighthouse before restoration, and Chris Blavis's January 2009 photo shows the restoration completed. Later in 2009 the Conservation Department spent $330,000 to improve parking and visitor facilities. Sibling of Akaroa Head Light. Waipapa Point, scene of a terrible shipwreck in 1881, is the eastern entrance to Foveaux Strait, the passage between South Island and Stewart Island. Located on the point, about 11 km (7 mi) south of NZ 92 near Otara. Site open, tower closed. Operator/site manager: Maritime New Zealand. ARLHS NZL-056; Admiralty K4384; NGA List 5420.

Waipapa Point Light, Southland, October 2009
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Jen Crothers
Dog Island
1865 (James Balfour). Active; focal plane 46 m (150 ft); white flash every 10 s. 36 m (118 ft) round concrete-clad stone tower with lantern and gallery, painted white with two black horizontal bands. Natalya Volna's photo is at right, another photo is available, Phillip Capper has a distant view from the mainland, Phillips has a page for the lighthouse, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a good satellite view. This is the tallest New Zealand lighthouse. The tower has had a slight lean since soon after it was built, due to poor soil conditions on the island; it was encased in concrete two feet thick in 1916 to strengthen it against this lean. This was the last staffed station in New Zealand, finally automated in 1989. Located on a low island in Foveaux Strait off the entrance to Bluff Harbour, at the southern tip of South Island. Visible from the beach at Bluff and from the Foveaux Express ferry from the Port of Bluff to Halfmoon Bay on Stewart Island. Site and tower closed. Operator/site manager: Maritime New Zealand. ARLHS NZL-019; Admiralty K4394; NGA 5428.
* Stirling Point (2)
1912 (station established 1884). Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); continuous red light. 1-story octagonal concrete tower with a short octagonal pillar on the roof. building painted white, pillar red. A 2008 photo is available, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. This tiny but historic lighthouse is a popular attraction, along with the nearby Stirling Point Signpost. The building is an old signal station. Located at the end of Marine Parade in the East End neighborhood of Bluff, marking the entrance to the harbor. Site open, tower closed. Operator/site manager: Maritime New Zealand. Admiralty K4398; NGA 5436.
Dog Island Light
Dog Island Light, Southland, December 2011
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Natalya Volna
#Acker's Point (1)
Date unknown (relocated here in the early 1930s). Replaced and demolished in 2005. 5 m (16 ft) square wooden tower enclosing the light; tower painted white. The light was originally on Stewart Island. Mulcahy has posted a photo, and Google has a very distant satellite view of the point. ARLHS NZL-073.
* [Acker's Point (2)]
2005 (station established in the early 1930s). Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); three white flashes every 10 s; a red sector is displayed east northeast to warn ships away from crashing into the point. 5 m (16 ft) square white tower. A photo is available. Located on a sharp point on the north side of the entrance to Halfmoon Bay, Stewart Island, on the south side of Foveaux Strait. Accessible by a popular hiking trail. Site open, tower closed. Operator/site manager: Maritime New Zealand. Admiralty K4388; NGA 5512.
Centre Island (Raratoka Island)
1878. Active; focal plane 81 m (265 ft); flash every 15 s, red or white depending on direction. 12 m (40 ft) octagonal wood tower with lantern and gallery, painted white with red trim; lantern roof is black. A Maritime New Zealand photo is at right, Phillips has a page for the lighthouse, The Te Ara Encyclopedia project has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. The original lens was replaced in the 1990s and placed in storage; in 2012 it was reassembled for display at the Bluff Maritime Museum in Bluff. Located on the southern tip of a small island in the western entrance to Foveaux Strait. Visible distantly from beaches in the Wakapatu area, off NZ 99 about 55 km (35 miles) west of Invercargill. Site and tower closed. Operator/site manager: Maritime New Zealand. ARLHS NZL-017; Admiralty K4438; NGA List 5536.

Southwest Coast Lighthouses
Puysegur Point (2)
1943. Reactivated (inactive 1980-1987); focal plane 45 m (148 ft); white flash every 12 s. 5 m (17 ft) lantern mounted on a short octagonal concrete pedestal. Mulcahy has an MSA photo, another photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. The original lighthouse, a wooden tower, was burned to the ground in 1942 by a deranged gold prospector who lived nearby. The light was deactivated in 1980 in favor of an automated light at Windsor Point, but it was reactivated seven years later when the Windsor Point Light was discontinued. Located in a very remote and roadless area at the southwestern tip of New Zealand. Site open but highly inaccessible, tower closed. Operator: Maritime New Zealand. Site manager: N.Z. Department of Conservation (Fiordland National Park). ARLHS NZL-043; Admiralty K4442; NGA 5545.

Centre Island Light, Foveaux Strait
Maritime New Zealand photo
Five Fingers Point
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 166 m (545 ft); three white flashes every 20 s. 9 m (30 ft) steel skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a distant satellite view. Located on a remote headland of New Zealand's Fiordland coast. Accessible only by helicopter. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K4446; NGA 5552.
St. Anne Point
1937. Active; focal plane 27 m (88 ft); white flash every 5 s. 6 m (20 ft) white round cylindrical tower with enclosed equipment room in the base. Mulcahy has posted a photo, Werning has a very distant view, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a rocky point at the southern entrance to Milford Sound, one of the many deep fjords of New Zealand's southwest coast. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. Operator: Maritime New Zealand. Site manager: N.Z. Department of Conservation (Fiordland National Park). ARLHS NZL-062; Admiralty K4464; NGA 5560.

West Coast Region Lighthouses

* Hokitika
1879 (John Blackett). Inactive since 1925. 5.5 m (18 ft) square wood tower with lantern but no gallery, painted white with dark green trim. The original lantern was removed when the lighthouse was deactivated; the current lantern is a replica. Kerry Kissane has a 2009 photo, Francis Vallance has a closeup photo, Sergi Balaguer has a photo, Google has a street view and a satellite view. Slated for demolition, the lighthouse was saved instead as an observation tower. Later abandoned, it was in very poor condition until Heritage Hokitika restored it in 1999. The replica lantern was added in 2002, and the group hopes to reactivate the light as a private aid to navigation in the future. Located on a hilltop above Fitzherbert Street (NZ 6) on the north side of Hokitika. Site open, tower closed. Owner: uncertain. Site manager: Heritage Hokitika. ARLHS NZL-027.
* Cape Foulwind (2)
1926 (station established 1876). Active; focal plane 70 m (230 ft); white flash every 12 s. 9 m (30 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. The Fresnel lens has been removed from the lantern, and the active light is an LED beacon mounted on the gallery rail. A photo is at right, Werning has a page with a good photo, another photo is available, Phillips has a page for the lighthouse, and Google has a satellite view and a distant street view. The lighthouse replaced a hexagonal wooden tower seen in Huelse's postcard view; the foundations of that tower and of the original keeper's houses are visible. The original lantern was relocated to Kaipara North Head on North Island in 1948. The beach at the cape is well known for its seal colony. Located at the end of Lighthouse Road west of the village of Cape Foulwind and about 11 km (7 mi) west of Westport, beyond the end of NZ 67A; accessible by a walk of about 800 m (1/2 mi) from the parking area. Site open, tower closed. Operator/site manager: Maritime New Zealand. ARLHS NZL-008; Admiralty K4486; NGA List 5600.
* Westport (Buller River)
Date unknown (station established 1886). Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); white flash every 5 s. Approx. 16 m (52 ft) skeletal tower mounted atop a square concrete building. Lighthouse painted white with one red horizontal band at the top of the concrete building. A photo of the lighthouse in silhouette is available, and Google has a closeup street view and a satellite view. We don't know the function of the building. Located on the west breakwater at the entrance to the Buller River, which forms the harbor of Westport, about 250 m (800 ft) from the end of the breakwater. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty K4490; NGA List 5608.
Kahurangi Point
1903. Active; focal plane 46 m (151 ft); two white flashes every 12 s. 18 m (59 ft) round cast iron tower with lantern and gallery, painted white; lantern roof is black. Mulcahy has an MSA photo, and Google has a satellite view. The tower was prefabricated in New Zealand by Judd's Foundry of Thames. The lighthouse was severely damaged by an earthquake in 1929; it was repaired and returned to service in 1931. Automated in 1960, the lighthouse is now operated on solar power. Located near the northwestern corner of South Island about 50 km (30 mi) north of Karamea. Accessible only by helicopter; the surrounding area is rugged and without roads or trails. Site and tower closed. Operator: Maritime New Zealand. Site manager: N.Z. Department of Conservation (Kahurangi National Park). ARLHS NZL-029; Admiralty K4506; NGA 5640.

Cape Foulwind Light, Westport, December 2009
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Seamoor

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

  • Lyttelton Timeball (1876). This was never a lighthouse, but until 2010 it was perhaps the best preserved timeball station in the world. The timeball was dropped at 1:00 pm daily until 1934. The station was restored, and the ball was once again dropped every day. Unfortunately, the building was severely damaged by the 2010-11 earthquakes, and in March 2011 the NZ Historic Places Trust announced "with enormous regret" that it would have to be demolished. There is hope that it will be rebuilt.

Adjoining page: North: North Island

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Posted April 2, 2004. Checked and revised May 30, 2014. Lighthouses: 36. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.