Tuhawaiki Point, or Jacks Point as it is also known, is about 5 kilometres south of Timaru on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island.
Location: latitude 44°27′ south, longitude 171°16′ east
Elevation: 29 metres above sea level
Construction: cast iron tower
Tower height: 9 metres
Light configuration: flashing beacon
Light flash character: white light flashing once every 10 seconds
Power source: mains electricity
Range: 9 nautical miles (16 kilometres)
Date light first lit: 1904
History of Tuhawaiki Point Lighthouse
Tuhawaiki Point, or Jacks point, gets its name from Hone (Jack) Tuhawaiki, a Maori chief belonging to the Ngai Tahu and Kai Tahu tribes.
The Tuhawaiki Point Lighthouse was constructed on site in 1903 by the Timaru harbour board. It was built to overcome the ineffectiveness of the harbour light.
The lighthouse originally resided on Somes Island in 1866.
Operation of the Tuhawaiki Point light
In 1903, the tower was fitted with an incandescent light. This was a relatively untried lighting method in New Zealand at that time. The incandescent light worked by oil vapour at high pressure being sprayed into a mantle, which once ignited produced a brilliant white light. These lights required less maintenance than oil burning lights.
Tuhawaiki Point Lighthouse is now fitted with a flashing beacon which is illuminated by a 100 watt tungsten halogen bulb.
The light is powered by mains electricity backed up by battery power in the event of power failure.
The light is monitored remotely from Maritime New Zealand’s Wellington office.
Life at Tuhawaiki Point light station
Tuhawaiki Point Lighthouse had a sole keeper, who lived on station until the light station was fully automated in 1930. The light was maintained by harbour employees from the nearby port of Timaru.
Access to Tuhawaiki Point Lighthouse
Tuhawaiki Point Lighthouse is accessible to the public from the nearby beach. There is no public access to enter the lighthouse.1