The Tuhawaiki Point Lighthouse or Jack’s Point Lighthouse stands near Timaru on the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand.
The lighthouse stands at Jack’s Point 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) south of Timaru. It can be reached via New Zealand State Highway 1 from the small settlement of Scarborough. Approx 40 metres (130 ft) further landwards passes the South Island Main Trunk Railway building.
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.
In January 2020, Tuhawaiki (Jacks) Point was solarized with mains power disconnected.
|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 LED beacon|
|Light flash character:||white light flashing once every 10 seconds|
|Power source:||solar power|
|Range:||9 nautical miles (16 kilometres)|
|Date light first lit:||1904|
|Construction||cast iron tower|
|Height||9 metres (30 ft)|
|Shape||octagonal tower with balcony and lantern|
|Markings||white tower and lantern|
|Power source||mains electricity|
|Operator||Maritime New Zealand|
|First lit||1903 (current)|
|Focal height||29 metres (95 ft) above sea level|
|Range||9 nautical miles (17 km; 10 mi)|
|Characteristic||Fl W 10s.|
The place is named after the Maori chief Hone (Jack) Tūhawaiki, who belonged to the Ngāi-Tahu-tribe.
Tūhawaiki (c. 1805 – 10 October 1844) — often known as Hone Tūhawaiki, John Tūhawaiki or Jack Tūhawaiki, or by his nickname of “Bloody Jack” — became a paramount chief of the Ngāi Tahu Māori iwi in the southern part of the South Island of New Zealand and was based predominantly on Ruapuke Island. He gained his nickname from early interactions with Foveaux Strait whalers on account of his red coats bought off soldiers in Australia that he and his whaling crew wore.
Ngāi Tahu, or Kāi Tahu, is the principal Māori iwi (tribe) of the South Island. Its takiwā (tribal area) is the largest in New Zealand, and extends from the White Bluffs / Te Parinui o Whiti (southeast of Blenheim), Mount Mahanga and Kahurangi Point in the north to Stewart Island / Rakiura in the south. The takiwā comprises 18 rūnanga (governance areas) corresponding to traditional settlements. According to the 2018 census an estimated 74,082 people are affiliated with the Kāi Tahu iwi
Ngāi Tahu originated in the Gisborne District of the North Island, along with Ngāti Porou and Ngāti Kahungunu, who all intermarried amongst the local Ngāti Ira. Over time, all but Ngāti Porou would migrate away from the district. Several iwi were already occupying the South Island prior to Ngāi Tahu’s arrival, with Kāti Māmoe only having arrived about a century earlier from the Hastings District, and already having conquered Waitaha, who themselves were a collection of ancient groups.Other iwi that Ngāi Tahu encountered while migrating through the South Island were Ngāi Tara, Rangitāne, Ngāti Tūmatakōkiri, and Ngāti Wairangi – all of which also migrated from the North Island at varying times. During the 19th century, hundreds of thousands of Europeans – mostly British – migrated to New Zealand. After European arrival, Ngāti Toa (allied with Ngāti Tama) and Ngāti Rārua invaded Ngāi Tahu’s territory with muskets. Some European settlers intermingled with native iwi populations, and today, most families who descend from Ngāi Tahu also have Ngāti Māmoe and British ancestry.
Ngāi Tahu translates as “People of Tahu”, referencing the name of the ancestor Tahupōtiki. Alongside the other iwi that Ngāi Tahu absorbed, there are five primary hapū (sub-tribes) of Ngāi Tahu, which are: Ngāti Kurī, Ngāti Irakehu, Kāti Huirapa, Ngāi Tūāhuriri, and Ngāi Te Ruakihikihi. A branch of Ngāi Tūāhuriri and Ngāti Kurī, Kāi Te Rakiāmoa, was one of the latest hapū which the leading chiefs descended from.
Tūhawaiki was born at Inch Clutha in South Otago in the early years of the 19th century, he gained prominence in about 1833 when a war-party led by him defeated the Ngāti Toa chief Te Rauparaha at Lake Grassmere. The Ngāti Toa leader escaped with his life only through luck. Four years later, a war-party led by Tūhawaiki and Taiaroa inflicted severe damage on Ngāti Toa troops in a number of raids. Around the same time, Tūhawaiki became Ngāi Tahu chief upon the death of his uncle, Te Whakataupuka. He gained a reputation as a bold and intelligent military leader, as well as shrewd and insightful in his non-military dealings with pākehā settlers.
On 10 June 1840, Tūhawaiki signed a copy of the Treaty of Waitangi aboard HMS Herald at Ruapuke.
Tūhawaiki became involved in numerous sales of land to settlers and entrepreneurs, notably that of the Otago Block to Frederick Tuckett, Symonds, and Clarke for £2,400 in July 1844.
During the spring of 1844, Tūhawaiki drowned south of Timaru when his boat hit rocks at a location now known as Tūhawaiki Point. Other New Zealand places named in his honour include Jack’s Bay and the nearby Tūhawaiki Island in the Catlins, as well as a peak in Fiordland’s Darran Mountains.
The lighthouse was installed in 1903 at its current location when it replaced the insufficient beacon of Timaru harbour. It had been built in 1866 from cast iron and was used until 1900 on Somes Island in Wellington Harbour, until a new tower was built there. It was automated one year after being relocated and since 1930 it was operated without staff. It is still being used.
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.
- Rowlett, Russ. “Lighthouses of New Zealand: South Island”. The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
- Tuhawaiki (Jacks) Point Lighthouse Archived 23 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine by Maritime New Zealand, downloaded on 17 January 2015.
- Tuhawaiki Point Lighthouse Archived 23 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine Maritime New Zealand