Cape Reinga lighthouse
The Cape Reinga lighthouse is one of the most important landmarks of Te Paki, and stands on the edge of a steep rocky cape, lashed by the Tasman Sea (to the west) and Pacific Ocean.
Originally, Motuopao Island was chosen as the site best suited for the location of a lighthouse to protect ships passing through the dangerous, turbulent waters at the northern tip of New Zealand.
However, by the beginning of WWII, it was decided that the light was in the wrong location, so in 1941 the glasshouse and light mechanism on top of the lighthouse were removed and re-erected at the new lighthouse settlement at Te Rerenga Wairua. The remains of the original tower can still be seen on the northern end of the offshore island.
First used in May 1941, Te Rerenga Wairua was the last watched lighthouse to be built in New Zealand. Standing at an impressive 10m in height and 165m above sea level, it is one of New Zealand’s iconic landmarks.
The Cape Reinga light today is electric, with the last lighthouse keeper being withdrawn in 1987. It is now managed remotely by computer from Wellington.
The 1000-watt light bulb magnified by the lens system throws a signal of warning 49 km out to sea and is often the first light in New Zealand that sailors see.