Cape Egmont Lighthouse

Taranaki, New Zealand | C.1881

Photo Credit: Marie Valencia

Situated on the coast of the Taranaki region in the North Island of New Zealand, the Cape Egmont Lighthouse has been continually casting its light since 1881.
It was also dismantled and mistakenly moved in a case of marine misidentification.

Built in London in the mid-1800s, cast-iron segments of the Lighthouse were shipped to New Zealand in 1865 to be assembled on Mana Island. Yet, shipwrecks continued to pervade the area and it was believed that the lighthouse was being confused with another light at Wellington Heads, thus contributing to the wrecks.

In 1881, the Lighthouse was dismantled and moved to Cape Egmont. Enormous in size, the cast-iron segments had to be ferried to shore by surfboats and dragged to the new site by bullock teams, or teams of oxen commonly used to haul building materials.

Nestled nearby the new site was the settlement of Parihaka, a non-violent Maori community who were against the installation of the lighthouse. They used passive resistance in an effort to prevent its construction, However, the colonial presence stationed Armed Constabulary members to ensure its completion.

In the 1950s, the Lighthouse was electrified and its keeper was transferred. Five years later, the vessel Calm grounded off Cape Egmont during a violent gale and thus, a permanent keeper was reinstated for another 30 years. In 1986, the Lighthouse was officially demanned and became fully automated.

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