NEW ZEALAND LIGHTHOUSES
Ponui Passage (1871)
Ponui Passage, Waitemata Harbour, Auckland, [ca 1940s]
Reference Number: PAColl-0077-04
Ponui Passage, Waitemata Harbour, Auckland.
Photograph taken circa 1940s. Photographer unidentified.
Ponui Passage with the GMV (Government Motor Vessel) Stella, lighthouse tender built 1973 by Simms in Dunedin.
Photo courtesy of Richard Osborne (photo taken between 1981-89)
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One of two wave washed lighthouses built in New Zealand (the other is Bean Rock) the lighthouse has been demolished and replaced with a beacon.
Located at the east end of the Pauhenehene Spit, in the passage between Auckland habour and the Firth of Thames. Also known as Sandspit Passage light. 16
Balfour recommended a principal harbour light be erected on Bean Rock and a screw pile light be erected on a sand spit in Ponui Passage. But before the lighthouses could be built Balfour was drowned in a boating accident in Timaru Harbour in December, 1869. So the lighthouse was designed by engineer James Stewart 16 who incorporated Balfour’s design. c
Stewart who arrived in New Zealand from Scotland in 1859, was appointed by the Marine Department to be Inspector of Steamers and Examiner of Engineers at Auckland in 1867. He also designed Bean Rock and oversaw Manakau South Heads lighthouses. c
The light was lit in 1871, and was built by James Heron at a accepted tender of £2300. a
The light and lantern was manufactured by Chance Brothers, London, England. 10
In November, 1896, the schooner Huon Belle ran aground then hit the lighthouse damaging two iron piles and some lamp glass. b
After Bean Rock had been successfully automated with a new acetylene light in 1912, Ponui Passage light was automated in 1915 18 or 1916 16 long with Nelson Boulder Bank.
The dilapidated original cottage structure was moved in 1938 to the Chamberlin's farm on Ponui Island, and the lantern was relocated to the base platform. 16
The current solar-powered light replaced an earlier acetylene gas-powered light in 1984, and is still on the original 1871 screw pile foundation. 16
The lantern is now on loan to the Dockside Restaurant in Wellington. 16
The fifth order Fresnel lens, is now stored at the New Zealand National Maritime Museum in Auckland. 16
a. Daily Southern Cross, 13 August 1870
b. Hawera & Normanby Star, 18 November 1896
c. Anne Stewart Ball, 2007
Text and photographs. Copyright © 1999-2011 Mark Phillips. All rights reserved.
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Last Updated: December 12, 2009