Tiritiri Matangi

Get technical and historical information and resources about Tiritiri Matangi lighthouse.

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Tiritiri Matangi lighthouse
Maritime New Zealand ©2016
An arial shot of Tiritiri Matangi lighthouse and surrounding homestead.

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Lighthouse overview

Tiritiri Matangi lighthouse is situated on Tiritiri Island in the Hauraki Gulf. It marks the approach to Auckland Harbour some 28 kilometres to the south.

Tiritiri Matangi is the oldest lighthouse still in operation in New Zealand. It was also the first lighthouse to be built by the Government.

Lighthouse feature: details
Location: latitude 36°36' south, longitude 174°54' east
Elevation: 91 metres above sea level
Construction: cast iron tower
Tower height: 21 metres
Light configuration: modern rotating beacon
Light flash character: white light flashing once every 15 seconds
Power source: batteries charged by solar panels
Range: 18 nautical miles (33 kilometres)
Date light first lit: 1865
Automated: 1984
Demanned: 1984

Getting to Tiritiri Matangi

Tiritiri Matangi lighthouse is located on Tiritiri Matangi Island and is accessible to the public.

There is no public access to enter the lighthouse

Tiritiri Matangi island is a wildlife sanctuary administered by the Department of Conservation and is a popular day trip from Auckland.

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Tiritiri Matangi photos

Tiritiri Matangi lighthouse
You can download a four page photo gallery of Tiritiri Matangi lighthouse dating back as far as 1865 to some more recent shots, depicting operationas of the lighthouse and life on Tiritiri Matangi Island.

Photo gallery[PDF: 7.6MB, 4 pages]

Lighthouse turns 150

On 1 January 2015, Supporters of Tiritiri Matangi celebrated the sesquicentennial of the lighting of Tiritiri Lighthouse.

150th celebration booklet

[PDF, 1.24Mb, 9 pages]

Download

Map of lights

Map of lights and beacons around NZ

[PDF: 220kB, 1 page]

Download
 

The history of Tiritiri Matangi

Lighthouse construction

Construction of the lighthouse was very difficult and cost £5,747. It took 4 months to dig down through 3 metres of thick, boggy, clay-like mud to reach ground that was hard enough to build on.

Building materials for the lighthouse were shipped to the island and then carted in sledges by bullocks over the slippery banks to reach the construction site. Despite the challenges of construction, the original tower is still standing. The light itself, however, has undergone many changes.

The light was first lit on 1 January 1865.

small image desciption
The original 1861 tower designs for Tiritiri Matangi by McLean and Stilman Civil Engineers, George St., London.

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Lighthouse timeline

2001

VRB-25 beacon installed

This is the current light – range 18Nm

1990

Solar panels installed

1984

Power beam beacon installed

Range 19Nm

Lighthouse keeper removed

1975

Fog horn

Fog horn / detector fitted (electric Chance Brothers)

1967

Site connected

Site connected to mains power via underwater cable

1965

Xenon lamp installed

Xenon lamp installed (Ernest Davis) – range 24Nm (character changed to Fl 15s)

1957

Radio beacon shut down

1955

Disel generated light source

Light source converted to diesel generated 230V

1950

Repainted

Light painted white (originally painted red)

1947

Light returned

Light returned to Marine Department

1940 - 1945

Naval base on the island

1935

Radio beacon installed

Fog horn installed

Fog horn (compressed air diaphone) installed

1934

Fog horn discontinued

1925

Lighthouse keepers withdrawn

Acetylene generated light source

Light source converted to Acetylene – range 20Nm (character changed to Fl(2) 30s)

1924

Fog signal installed

Fog signal installed (Slaughters Cotton Powder)

1922

Red sector removed

Red sector over Flat Rock removed

1920

Fog horn installed

Fog horn installed (ex Timaru) Slaughter’s cotton powder

1916

Kerosene generated light source

Incandescent burner fitted (kerosene) – range 23Nm

1900

Signals for weather

Signals used for local weather

1898

Telegraph installed

1883

Red sector installed

Red sector installed over Flat Rock

1879

Paraffin generated light source

Light source Doty burner (paraffin) – range 23Nm

1865

Light first lit

Light operational (Total cost £5,747)