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Tuhawaiki (Jacks) Point, Timaru (1904)


Photo (date unknown)

Photo courtesy of Steven McLachlan, SHADES STAMP SHOP LTD, 108 HEREFORD ST, CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND, 8011. Phone +64 3 366 6390



Photos 2000

Photos 2000


Google has a satellite map 


Tuhawaiki Point or Jacks Point is about 5 km south of Timaru Harbour. Named after Hone (Jack) Tuhawaiki, a maori chief of the Ngai Tahu and Kai Tahu tribes his nick name was "Bloody Jack" from his frequent use of the word "bloody". Tuhawaiki was drowned at the point that bears his name. A memorial is on nearby Scarborough Road.  1

During the 1870's a lighthouse was required around the Timaru area but the local authorities couldn't agree on whether to build a coastal light at Patiti Point, a site just north of the present Jack's Point lighthouse or to build a harbour light. 18

The Timaru Herald, reported on 19 February 1873, the need for a lighthouse to protect from the rocks off Patiti Point.  171

The Canterbury Provincial Council approved 1000 for a light at Patiti Point but it was later agreed that a costal light was not required and they decided to build a harbour light at the site of the former cottage lighthouse, near Port Signal Street, Timaru. This was completed in 1878. 18   Timaru Harbour Lighthouse

The Timaru Harbour lighthouse was designed by John Blackett, marine engineer, using the native wood Kauri and tenders for construction were called for in June, 1876. But before the contract was let, the Timaru Harbour Board was formed in October, 1876 and the tenders were cancelled. The new harbour board wanted the construction to be of stone and further delays were experienced. Stone proved to be to expensive and construction of the lighthouse begun. The tower cost 259 and the keepers house 314 and was financed by the Canterbury Provincial Council.  18

The light was first lit on 1st July, 1878 and served Timaru as the main harbour light until 1970. 18

By 1884, the harbour light become barely visible amongst the city's lights and a need for a new coastal light beyond the city was required. Two sites were suggested Patiti Point or Jack's Point.   286


In May of 1901 Government Minister Hon. W. Hall-Jones promised the Timaru Harbour Board a sum of money to provide a lighthouse at Patiti Point, but would have to defray the maintenance costs themselves.  170

An earlier light has been reported at the site but little is known about this lighthouse.  f    Jacks Point was the scene of a shipwreck back in 1892 when the captain of the Elginshire mistook the lighthouse for the entrance of the harbour.  f

By 1902, the Marine Department had started experimenting with incandescent lights to replace the labour intensive oil burners. These new lights forced vapor oil under pressure into a mantle, producing a bright white light and needed little maintenance.  1


In 1903, the lighthouse from Somes Island that had been dismantled in 1900 was shipped to the lighthouse site. The octagonal iron tower was then bolted back together.  1  The new incandescent light, with a fourth order Fresnel lens  16  was first shown on July 1 ,  18 1904.  1   

Initially the light was a fixed white light but on August 23rd, 1906  172  1907  20   this was changed to a more powerful occulting light.  172   



The Marine Department has satisfied itself that the Matthews patent incandescent, vapourised oil, occulting light is preferable to the light now used on the various parts of the New Zealand coast, and it is to be brought into general use as far :as possible. One of the lights is to replace the fixed light at Jack's Point, near Timaru, and will be shown there for the first time on August 23rd. One will also be installed at the present lighthouse station at Pencarrow Head.

172. Wanganui Herald, Volume XXXX, Issue 11929, 27 July 1906, Page 5


The first principal lighthouse keeper was John Frederick Ericson, who transferred from Cape Egmont to the new lighthouse at Jack's Point, south of Timaru.  245  16

During 1909, the Marine Department who had earlier experimented with incandescent burner systems (Chance Patent) at Pencarrow, Stephens Island and Jack's Point (Timaru) made a decision to install them in other lighthouses.  90


In 1910, a fog signal, the Slaughter's Cotton Powder Explosive Signal was installed on the harbour breakwater but this proved to noisy for city residents and it was moved to Jack's Point   20    Patiti Point.  16    This of course caused delays in it's use due to the time it took the harbor board personal to reach the signal and start it. By 1913 they abandoned the idea of a fog signal and sent it to Tiritiri Matangi Island lighthouse.  20

The light de-manned in 1930 and a 800 mm lens installed.  16

The light was maintained by harbour employees from the nearby port of Timaru.  1

As the lighthouse was close to the main railway line, nearly all the servicing was done by railroad.  c

Tuhawaiki Point Lighthouse is now fitted with a flashing beacon which is illuminated by a 100 watt tungsten halogen bulb.  1

The light is powered by mains electricity backed up by battery power in the event of power failure.  1



Take Hwy 1,  5 km south of Timaru, turn on Ellis Road and go to the end of the road. Walk north up beach to lighthouse.


Island South
Province Canterbury
Location South of Timaru
Number K4340
Date Commissioned July 1, 1904  18
Date Decommissioned
Automated 1904, manned until 1930  1
Latitude 44 27' South  1
Longitude 171 16' East  1
Elevation Above Sea Level 29m  1
Height 9m 
Character Flashes white every 10 seconds  1
Range 9 N. miles  1
Construction White cast iron tower  1
Converted Kerosene To Diesel
Converted Diesel To Mains Electricity
Present Tower Original 1
Authority Maritime New Zealand
Date Visited January 1, 2000


Keepers From To
  1st lit, July 1, 1904 18  
John Frederick Ericson  16  245 July 1, 1904  16  245  
William Murray  22  June 13, 1911  22  
  Keeper Withdrawn 1930 1



Additional Sources:

c. Paul W. Shirley,  

f. Timaru Herald, 2 April 2004.

90Otago Witness, February 17th, 1909.


Timaru Herald, Volume IX, Issue 346, 19 September 1868, Page 2

Timaru Herald, Volume XVI, Issue 748, 17 May 1872, Page 2

Timaru Herald, Volume XIX, Issue 948, 24 September 1873, Page 8


171. Timaru Herald, Volume XVIII, Issue 856, 19 February 1873, Page 2.

173Otago Daily Times , Issue 6160, 5 November 1881, Page 2

286. Timaru Herald, Volume XL, Issue 3094, 23 August 1884, Page 2


288. Timaru Herald, Volume LIV, Issue 5383, 10 March 1892, Page 3

289. Timaru Herald, Volume LIV, Issue 5384, 11 March 1892, Page 3

290. Timaru Herald, Volume LIV, Issue 5385, 14 March 1892, Page 3

291. Timaru Herald, Volume LIV, Issue 5370, 19 March 1892, Page 4

292. Timaru Herald, Volume LIV, Issue 5371, 21 March 1892, Page 4

293. Timaru Herald, Volume LIV, Issue 5399, 26 April 1892, Page 4


170Otago Witness , Issue 2463, 29 May 1901, Page 45.

287. Timaru Herald, Volume LXXVIII, Issue 12004, 28 February 1903, Page 2

245. New Zealand Herald, Volume XLI, Issue 12544, 11 April 1904, Page 5

172. Wanganui Herald, Volume XXXX, Issue 11929, 27 July 1906, Page 5





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

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

Last Updated: October 5, 2010