Home Lighthouse Tenders The People The Lighthouse Service Lighthouse List Reference Page


Tory Channel (????)





As reported in the Press, Volume XXIV, Issue 3110, 11 August 1875, Page 2.

STATEMENT ON MARINE MATTERS. The Commissioner of Customs (the Hon "W. Hunter Reynolds) said —Mr. Speaker, last session I was frequently applied to in the House for information regarding the marine department, and you will remember, Sir, that before the Session closed I stated what progress had been made in the works undertaken by the department during the recess, and also the views of the Government as to what further action should be taken during the then current year. Anticipating the wish of the House for further information, I now propose to show what has been done during the past year and what is proposed for the present. Lighthouses. —Shortly after the termination of last session officers of the marine department were dispatched to visit the Brothers in Cooks Straits, with a view to ascertain whether it would be advisable to erect a lighthouse on one of three islets instead of at the entrance to Tory Channel, and afterwards to visit the sites of the proposed lighthouse in the Middle Island. From the reports received, and which I have just laid on the table, it was decided to erect a lighthouse at the Brothers instead of at Tory Channel. The apparatus, which had been ordered to Tory Channel, and which is now in the colony, will consequently not be required for that place, and is unsuitable for the Brothers, but will be available for Hokitika, where it is proposed to erect it. In connection with Tory Channel I may also state, that last month Captain Johnston of this department was sent to select sites for the erection of leading lights to guide vessels into that channel, and as soon as the temporary beacons have been proved to be in their proper position, it is proposed to provide the lights Having obtained all the requisite information as to the sites and class of lights required, an order was sent to England in February last for the necessary apparatus for tights to be erected on the Brothers in Cook's Strait Puysegur Point and Centre Island in Foveaux Strait, at Mokohinau Island, in Hauraki Gulf at Cape Maria Van Dieman at the extreme north of the North Island, and at Portland Island off the Mahia Peninsula. Advices have been received from the Engineer in Great Britain that the contracts for the lanterns and apparatus have been let and no time will be lost in erecting the necessary buildings, so that they may be ready, or nearly so, to receive the light when they arrive in the colony. A road party has for some time at work forming a road from Puysegur point to Otago's Retreat at the entrance to Preservation Inlet, the nearest convenient harbor and a road has also been formed to the site of Cape Foulwind Lighthouse The materials for this lighthouse are partly in the colony, and the remainder on the way from England, and the preparation is being made for erection of the towers and dwellings. The Government propose ordering at an early date lights for the following places —Moeraki, Cape Saunders, Akaroa Heads, and a site yet to be fixed near the Eastern entrance to Hauraki Gulf. Your concurrence will be asked to these proposals when the estimates are under consideration, as also to provide for the erection of leading lights for Tory Channel and for the removal of Mana Island light to Cape Egmont. The latter will have to await the completion of the light on the Brothers, and the acquiring of a suitable site, but the land being native property, requires further action to be taken by my colleague, the Native Minister As even with the present number of lighthouses, considerable inconvenience has been caused at times through the service of the Luna not being available for the use of the marine department, and as both, during and after the erection of the proposed lighthouses, it will be absolutely necessary to have a steamer for the sole use of the marine department, an order, has been sent to England, for a steamer suitable for use as a lighthouse tender, and also for lifting buoys and moorings. In connection with the claims of the shipping community for the erection of additional lighthouses, l may point out that the light dues for the past financial year amounted £10241 19e 6d whilst the cost of maintaining the lights only amounted to £6767 4e 9d, thus showing a profit of £4474 14s 9d. The profit during the previous financial year was £3989 lie 9d. From the 1st of July, 1866, to the 30th June last, the revenue derivable from light dues has exceeded the working expenditure by £18,847 13a 6d. The returns of trade and shipping and the table attached to the marine reports now laid on the table of the House, show the largely increasing trade of the colony, and whilst we are entitled to congratulate ourselves on such an increase, I think that it will be admitted that I am justified on behalf of the shipping interest in asking you to provide liberally for the further erection of lighthouses. The Government do not propose to reduce the dues, but rather to use any surplus, from time to time, towards increasing the number of lighthouses along the coast. 117

117. Press, Volume XXIV, Issue 3110, 11 August 1875, Page 2



Even when sites were identified, the New Zealand government, initially reluctant to fund construction, had to be convinced. James Balfour was the first, but not the last, to resort to dramatic language to spur the government into action: ‘I may now say that nowhere in New Zealand is there such a crying need for a light as on this low-lying and extensive danger’, he wrote in 1867 of Farewell Spit. That light was funded. However, his description of the perils of navigating Tory Channel went unheeded: ‘The height of the land, the narrowness of the entrance, and the strength of the tide [which can run up to seven knots], combine to make the operation a very anxious one even to the most experienced captains on the coast.’ 1

Appendices to the Journals of the House of Representatives, 1867, E-6, p. 4.

Helen Beaglehole. 'Lighthouses - Building', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 13-Jul-12 URL:



Registration Type

Historic Place Category 1

Register Number


Date Registered







Island South
Province Marlborough
Location Entrance to Queen Charlotte Sound
Number K4262  19
Date Commissioned 1930  19
Date Decommissioned
Latitude 41° 12.9' South  19
Longitude 174° 18.9' East  19
Elevation Above Sea Level 46 m  19
Height 4 m  19
Character Group flash of white and red 0.5 second flash every 10 seconds  19
Range 8 miles  19
Construction White Tower  19
Converted Kerosene To Diesel
Converted Diesel To Mains Electricity
Present Tower
Authority Maritime New Zealand
Date Visited



Keepers From To
  1st lit,   






Additional Sources:

117. Press, Volume XXIV, Issue 3110, 11 August 1875, Page 2

Marlborough Express, Volume IX, Issue 628, 5 August 1874, Page 5

Evening Post, Volume XIV, Issue 98, 23 October 1876, Page 2


Back Home Next

Text and photographs. Copyright © 1999-2013 Mark Phillips. All rights reserved.

If anyone has any information on this light please contact me.

Last Updated: