On the journey around Surf Highway 45, take a detour to the Cape Egmont Lighthouse - it has been shining its light since 1881.

By day, the Cape Egmont Lighthouse visibly marks the western-most point of the Taranaki coast. By night, it flashes white light once every eight seconds, telling ships up to 22 nautical miles away exactly where they are.

The lighthouse was built in London in the mid-1800s. In 1865, the cast-iron segments were shipped to New Zealand and assembled on Mana Island, north of Wellington. However, this spot proved unsatisfactory. Several shipping accidents later, it was thought that the Mana light was being confused with the lighthouse at Wellington Heads.

In 1881, the tower was dismantled and carried in sections to Cape Egmont. The huge, cast iron sections would have been ferried ashore by surfboats, then dragged up to the site by bullock teams.

Just a few miles away was the settlement of Parihaka, which at the time was the centre of a Maori non-violent movement led by Te Whiti O Rongomai and Tohu Kakahi.

Using passive, but effective, resistance the people of Parihaka managed to delay the erection of the lighthouse. In reply, the colonial authorities stationed about 40 members of the Armed Constabulary at the tower to ensure its completion. The light finally shone on 1 August 1881.

To find the lighthouse, which was automated in 1986, follow State Highway 45 to Pungarehu. Just south of town, turn right on Cape Road. Drive five kilometres to the lighthouse which is at the end of the road.

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