Photographer's Note

Rangitoto Island Lighthouse

Location: The lighthouse is located on a small islet just off the western end of Rangitoto Island, Waitemata Harbour, Auckland, New Zealand. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed.
Managing Organization: Auckland Harbour Board
Date of construction: unknown.
Height of Focal Plane: 69ft 21m
Characteristic and Range: Red flash 1.5 seconds on, 10.5 seconds off
Description of Tower: 20 m (65 ft) cylindrical concrete tower, painted white with narrow red horizontal bands; no lantern
This light is operational: Light List 3744; NGA List 4048.
Current Use: Active aid to navigation.

New Zealand relied on shipping in the 1800s for trade and immigration. Lighthouses were desperately needed as the hazardous coast claimed over 1,000 ships in the first 50 years of colonization in the mid 1800s. Three of those shipwrecks claimed the lives of over 450 people.

The first towers were manufactured in England of cast iron and were shipped in sections to the site and assembled by bolting them together. By the 1880's the towers were able to be manufactured locally. Most of the lighthouses were built during the 1870/1880 period.

The rules and regulations for the running the lighthouses were based on the Scottish Lighthouse Service. Coastal lighthouses are operated and maintained by the New Zealand Maritime Safety Authority. Harbour lighthouses, however, are owned and maintained by local harbour authorities.

Initially the lights did not flash but this caused confusion with other lights in the area so flashing lights were introduced. These first lights burned colza oil then later paraffin oil. A constant job for the keepers was trimming the wick so the lights would burn bright and clear. The lantern was rotated by a clockwise mechanism driven by weights that hung on a cable down the tower. The mechanisms had to be wound every hour to keep the lantern turning. Some lanterns floated on a bed of mercury while others used metal rollers.

In the 1900's incandescent kerosene burners replaced the oil lamps. Later on mains or diesel-generated electricity was introduced and by the end of the 1950's, all the lights had been converted. During the 1980's the last of the lighthouses in New Zealand were automated.

This photo was scanned.

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Additional Photos by Janice Dunn (Janice) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 920 W: 68 N: 1359] (4403)
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