Tiritiri Matangi Lighthouse


Tiritiri Matangi Lighthouse, also known as Tiritiri Lighthouse, is a lighthouse on Tiritiri Matangi, an island in the Hauraki Gulf 28 km north of Auckland in the North Island of New Zealand. It is owned and operated by Maritime New Zealand. It is considered the best-preserved lighthouse complex in the country and is the oldest lighthouse in New Zealand still in operation. It was once the most powerful lighthouse in the Southern Hemisphere.

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. In 2019, the lighthouse was fitted with a 24-volt Flashing LED beacon, replacing the rotating beacon.


Constructed 1864
Construction cast iron tower
Automated 1925 (1st), 1984 (2nd)
Height 20 metres (66 ft)
Shape cylindrical tower with balcony and lantern
Markings white tower, black lantern roof
Power source solar power
Operator Department of Conservation
Heritage Heritage New Zealand Category 1 historic place listing
First lit 1865
Focal height 91 metres (299 ft)
Range 18 nautical miles (33 km; 21 mi)
Characteristic FL W 15s
Heritage New Zealand – Category 1
Designated 25 June 1992

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

Tiritiri Matangi photos

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

 Photo gallery[PDF: 7.6MB, 4 pages] 

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.

Tiritiri Matangi 3

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

 View larger image[JPG: 10436×7680, 72ppi, 7MB]



Constructed in 1864 from cast iron, the light was first lit on 1 January 1865. The light was first automated in 1925 and used an acetylene-burning revolving light. Keepers returned to the light in 1947 and it remained staffed until 1984 when the light was fully automated. The light’s last keeper, Ray Walter, remained on the island working with his wife Barbara as Department of Conservation rangers until their retirement in 2006.

The lighthouse along with the nearby visitor centre is a popular destination, although the light itself is not open to the public. The building has a Category I listing with Heritage New Zealand.

See also


  1. “Tiritiri Matangi”Maritime New ZealandArchived from the original on 22 November 2018. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  2. ^ Rowlett, Russ. “Lighthouses of New Zealand: North Island”The Lighthouse DirectoryUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  3. Jump up to:a b “Auckland Places – Tiritiri Matangi Island”Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Government of New Zealand. Archived from the original on 1 March 2010. Retrieved 3 March 2010.
  4. ^ “The Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, Part 2”. Inset to The New Zealand Herald. 3 March 2010. p. 8.
  5. ^ Dawn Chorus Bulletin 66″ (PDF)Archived (PDF) from the original on 9 October 2007. Retrieved 10 June 2007. (0.99 MiB), August 2006. Supporters of Tiritiri Matangi, Inc. ISSN 1171-8595.
  6. ^ “Tiritiri Lighthouse”New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi KōreroHeritage New Zealand. Retrieved 6 March 2010.

External links

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