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Name: Manukau South Head Light  

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Nearest Town or City:
Wattle Bay, , New Zealand

Location: South entrance to Manukau Harbour.

Click to enlarge: Photo    Large photo
Photo: From the collection of Paul W. Shirley
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Managing Organization:
Ports of Auckland Ltd/Waiuku Museum


Paul W. Shirley provides the following information: This lighthouse was first lighted in 1874, with a third order dioptric fixed light fuelled by paraffin oil. Originally a two keeper station, it was semi-automated in 1929 when gas equipment was installed. The 20-foot high wooden tower was painted chocolate, to blend in with the sandy cliff, and so it couldn't be confused with other harbor channel day markers. It was a classic John Blackett design and remained in service until 1944. A World War II coastal gun battery was established on the lighthouse reserve. When it was test fired, the old tower collapsed. The replacement was a small red concrete lighthouse using the original lens. A new dwelling was erected at this time too for the last keeper, Norman Harvey, and his family. Harvey remained on as a caretaker keeper and farmed the large lighthouse reserve after it was automated. The acetylene light was electrified in 1963, and it was discontinued in 1989. Further cliffside erosion threatened the site. The lens and lantern were removed and the tower was abandoned. It was replaced by a New Zealand-made Vega projector beacon at a higher elevation at the South Head Signal Station. The light has been operated by the Auckland Harbour Board (now Ports of Auckland Ltd) since 1975, and prior to that had been maintained by the N.Z. Lighthouse Service of the Marine Department. The historic lens equipment has been in storage for some years, and it will be incorporated in a replica lighthouse that the Waiuku Museum Society is constructing, based on the original 1874 design. The target opening date has been set for September 23, 2006.

Height of Focal Plane: 768

Characteristic and Range: Four seconds white alternating with two seconds darkness.

Description of Tower: Mast on one-story signal station building.

This light is operational

Earlier Towers?
1874: 20-foot wooden tower; c. 1944: Red concrete tower.

Date Established: 1874

Date Present Tower Built: 1989

Current Use: Active aid to navigation.

Keepers: Norman Harvey (c. 1944-1960s)


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