Beach Road, Akaroa
List Entry Information
List Entry Status
List Entry Type
Historic Place Category 2
Private/No Public Access
22nd August 1991
Extent of List Entry
Extent of registration includes part of the land known as Road Reserve, Canterbury Land District, and the structure known as Akaroa Lighthouse thereon.
Road Reserve, Canterbury Land District
The Akaroa Lighthouse is located on Beach Road close to the wharf and Akaroa Cruising Club
When the Akaroa lighthouse was built in 1878 coastal shipping was the principal form of transport and communication in New Zealand. Lighthouses were essential for the efficiency and safety of this service. The original site at Akaroa Head was selected in 1875 and the lighthouse was commenced in 1878 and completed the following year. It remained in use on this site until the 1970s. In 1980 it was cut into three sections, taken to its present site, reassembled and restored. The light may still be lit on special occasions. The lighthouse is open for public inspection.
Historical Significance or Value
Lighthouses were an essential aspect of the coastal maritime trade in New Zealand in the 19th century. Their importance has declined in recent years and many lighthouses have been de-manned and
disestablished. The Akaroa Lighthouse, even in its relocated position, is a prominent reminder of this service in its heyday.
The Akaroa lighthouse is one of the few surviving wooden lighthouses on the New Zealand coast. It is a functional wooden building of simple but pleasant lines. The triangular-paned glass screen and copper sheathed cupola are distinctive and attractive features. Although it has been moved, its appearance today is essentially the same as it would have been on 1 January 1880 when it first exhibited.
The lighthouse is a prominent feature of Cemetery Point, Akaroa.
Stevenson, D & T
David and Thomas Stevenson came from a long line of Stevensons trained as engineers and commissioned to build lighthouses on the Scottish coast. Thomas was the father of writer Robert Louis Stevenson.
D & T Stevenson & Co were based in Edinburgh. Contracted to the Scottish Light Service they designed the machinery for a number of other New Zealand lighthouses, including Dog Island, Foveaux Strait 1865), Bean Rock, Waitemata Harbour (1872), Cape Saunders (1878-9) and Akaroa Head (1878-9). The latter two lighthouses were identical in design and were both exhibited for the first time on 1 January 1880.
The Akaroa Lighthouse is a six-sided wooden weatherboard building which is 12.5 metres high and 5.49 metres wide at the base. Its sides slope inwards to the light platform at the third floor. Entry is at ground level through a tongue and groove door. Narrow stairs rise between each floor. At the third level a door opens onto a balcony with wooden rail and paling balustrade and wooden angled supports, which encircles the tower. The top level which is enclosed by glass arranged in triangular panes is topped by a rounded roof sheathed in copper.
The Akaroa light is a second order dioptric holophotal revolving light, hand made in France. The lens, which is over 2 metres high and 1.5 metres in diameter, is constructed of a number of prisms which reflect the light in eight separate beams radially from the tower. The lens rotates in 80 seconds, giving a periodicity of 10 seconds to the flashes which are visible to 40 kilometres.
The clockwork rotation mechanism is driven by weights descending in the tower. The light originally used a wick burner kerosene system, but in 1917 a Chand incandescent petroleum vapour kerosene burner was installed. In 1951 a 1000 watt electric system with an output of one million candlepower was installed.
1951 Light electrified.
1980 Lighthouse relocated at Akaroa township; many cladding timbers replaced; balcony strengthened and pipe stair rails replaced with brass rails; sprinklers installed.
Glass screen and copper cupola.
Lighthouse relocated at Akaroa township; many cladding timbers replaced; balcony strengthened and pipe stair rails replaced with brass rails; sprinklers installed.
All the major framing is Australian hardwood; the auxiliary frame, interior linings and white painted exterior timber is mostly kauri; triangular plates of glass below the dome are held in by cast bronze; dome sheathed in copper.
Akaroa Museum and the Akaroa Lighthouse Preservation Society hold plans for the Lighthouse.
Historic Places in New Zealand
Historic Places in New Zealand
12.1, March 1986
Frances Porter (ed), Historic Buildings of Dunedin, South Island, Methuen, Auckland, 1983.
Gordon Ogilvie, 'Akaroa', pp58-67
1985, v11, p262
This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1980. This report includes the text from the original Building Classification Committee report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.
Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.