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The light at Jack's Point, Timaru - it is still there

The lighthouse at Somes Island was erected in November 1865, was a 14-foot cast iron tower that had been imported from England. The light entered service on 17 February 1866, burning colza (rapeseed) oil and shining a white light down the centre of the channel and a red or green light at either side. By 1895, there were calls for a stronger light on Somes Island that could be seen further out to sea. A new lighthouse was built and began operation on 21 February 1900. The old tower was removed and taken to Jack’s Point, Timaru where it can still be seen today. Cycle or walk to it.

1909. Printed in Berlin.

& Bloody Jack

Jack's Point is two miles south of Patiti Point. The white tower still flashes its warning every 10 seconds, visible to craft up to 13km from the shore.

Timaru expanded and the harbour light become barely visible amongst the city's lights so there was a need for a coastal light beyond the city and in 1904 a cast iron light house was erected at Jack's Point. Today it stands on private property and was not towed across the Pacific behind a tug on April Fool's Day 2004. google view tech details operation today
Automated: 1904
Demanned: 1930

West Coast Times 11 April 1904, Page 3
Wellington, April 10 The following transfers of principal lighthouse keepers have been decided upon. Erescon from Cape Egmont to a new lighthouse at Jack's Point, south of Timaru.

Wanganui Herald, 27 July 1906, Page 5
The Marine Department has satisfied itself that the Matthews patent incandescent, vapourised oil, occulting light is preferably to the light now used on the various parts of the New Zealand coast, and it is to be brought into general use as far as possible. One of the lights is to replace the fixed light at Jack's Point, near Timaru, and will be shown there for the first time on August 23rd.

Just 5 km south of Timaru Harbour is Jack's Point named after Tuhawaiki (circa 1805-1844), who drowned in the spring of 1844 when his boat hit rocks at the point now known as Tuhawaiki Point. He was often known as Hone Tuhawaiki, John Tuhawaiki, Jack Tuhawaiki, or by his nickname of ‘‘Bloody Jack''. About 1837 he became the Ngai Tahu chief upon the death of his uncle, Te Whakataupuka. Tuhawaiki gained prominence in about 1833 when he led a war party that ambushed the Ngati Toa chief Te Rauparaha at Lake Grassmere but Te Rauparaha escaped. He gained a reputation as a bold and intelligent military leader and shrewd and insightful in his non-military dealings with Pakeha settlers. On April 29, 1840, in the regalia and uniform of a British aide-decamp, Tuhawaiki boarded the British ship HMS Herald and signed the Treaty of Waitangi when a copy was brought to him at Ruapuke Island. Tuhawaiki had already made many smaller land sales in the South Island when, on July 26, 1844, he, with other Otago chiefs, negotiated the sale of the Otago Block to Tuckett, Symonds, and Clarke. The price paid was £2400 and Tuhawaiki signed the deeds as Towack, King of the Bluff. Tuhawaiki's nickname was "Bloody Jack" from his frequent use of the word "bloody" from early interactions with Foveaux Strait whalers on account of and it embarrassed him in later years after his conversion to Christianity.

Tuhawaiki signed the Deed of Purchase for the Otago Block with the other chiefs at Koputai (Port Chalmers) in 1844. Prior to the signing of the Deed he made his impassioned speech on the hill Ohinetu, Otakou. He had a remarkable memory and possessed a wide knowledge of the geography of the South Island. He had a reputation for integrity and straightforwardness. He was above middle height, well proportioned and intelligent. Bold and skilful sailor as he was, he lost his life in November, 1844, whilst steering his boat through a stormy sea when approaching Timaru. He was thrown overboard by a huge wave and was drowned. His body was recovered and buried at Arowhenua, before being disinterred and laid in its final resting place on Ruapuke Island. Tuhawaiki lived on Ruapuke Island, in Foveaux Strait.

A 2008 memorial, a boulder with a plague, on Scarborough Road, erected by his Ngai Tahu descendants. It is a short trip to the coast to view Timaru and Jack's Point. Other New Zealand places named in his honour include Jack's Bay and the nearby Tuhawaiki Island in the Catlins. Timaru Herald Thursday, 10 Jul 2008 Tuhawaiki memorial: The inscription on the memorial at Jack’s Point translates as: ‘‘This memorial mark is for Tuhawaiki, a chiefly man who drowned near here in the year 1844.’’

Nov.2009. One silver birch tree and two cabbage trees beside the Scarborough Road palque.
The tallest of its three simple stones represents Hone Tuhawaiki. Those on either side are his people. Tuhawaiki, known popularly as Bloody Jack, was a Ngai Tahu chief, who ended Te Rauparaha's dream of South Island conquest. He drowned near here in 1844, aged about 40.

Otago Witness, 3 February 1909, Page 36
Bloody Jack's Island, because the celebrated Murihiku chief Tuhawaiki, who was nicknamed Bloody Jack, was born there, and claimed the island as his own, until it was sold to Colonel Wakefield for the New Zealand Company in 1844. Tuhawaiki was the nephew of the great Ngai Tahu of chief Wakatapunga, who had six toes on each foot and was a staunch friend of the pakeha. He died of plague after a few days' illness on Jack's Island, at the mouth of Catlin's River, much to the regret of Maoris and Europeans. Dr. D. Monro, writing in April, 1844, described Tuhawaiki as a fine-looking man, above middle size, well-proportioned, with good features and an intelligent expression of countenance was most correctly and completely dressed in white man's clothes, even to the refinement of a cotton pocket handkerchief and a watch— a contrast to some other Maoris who proudly strutted in a mat and bell-topper, or simply a woollen shirt! Tuhawaiki was drowned off Timaru, July 31, 1844.

Timaru Herald, 21 May 1896, Page 2
The C Battery, N.Z. A., had an excellent muster at their special drill on Tuesday. The evening was devoted to gun drill, principally changing position of detachments, coming into action and limbering up. Another special drill is to be held to-morrow evening, and a party will assemble this evening to fill shells, etc., under the supervision of the quartermaster-sergeant. Arrangements have been made to carry out shot and shell practice on Monday morning after the salute. The target will be erected at the foot of the cliff at the end of Mutumutu Point (the first point to the south of the Otipua lagoon), and the first position for the guns will be on the spit between the lagoon and the sea, near the railway bridge. The beach from Mutumutu to Paparoa (Bloody Jack's Point) will be dangerous during the firing, and the public are warned to give it a wide, berth.

Timaru Herald, 6 September 1877, Page 3
A correspondent, prompted by curiosity, wishes us to enlighten him as to which point near Timaru bears the name of "Bloody Jack's," and also how it received its title. Were we to attempt to give a full history of " Bloody Jack " it would fill several issues of this paper, and afford a tale of romance and adventure enough to make the longest hair stand on end. We will, therefore, confine ourselves to a few brief particulars in connection with him. "Bloody Jack" was an influential chief of the Maori tribes resident in the southern parts of Canterbury and in the Otago Province. He was continually engaged in wars with the natives of the North Island, and by his fierce courage and brave exploits obtained from the old whalers the name of "Bloody Jack." He made more than one trip to Sydney, a feat which in those days (between 35 and 40 years ago) was considered no small thing for a Maori to perform. He always showed himself a firm friend of the Europeans, and was universally liked by the whalers and others with whom he came in contact. He used to start with parties of his tribe, and make voyages along the coast in canoes from Otago to Cook's Strait for the purpose of attacking his enemies, amongst whom was the great and powerful chief Rauparaha. On the last occasion he left home in a whaleboat, and when rounding the Point which has ever since borne his name (that immediately to the South of the Saltwater Creek), the oar with which he was steering broke, and "Bloody Jack" fell overboard. There was a heavy sea running at the time, and his friends in the boat being unable to assist him, he was drowned. This happened between thirty and thirty-five years ago. "Bloody Jack" was greatly feared by the Northern Natives with whom he was constantly at war ; while his death was a severe blow to his own tribe at the time he was drowned, " Bloody Jack" was comparatively speaking a young man, not being much over 30 years of age. He is described by those who knew him as a strong, well built fellow, with a face greatly tattooed, as became a warrior of his note.

Timaru Herald, 21 July 1879, Page 2
Sir, — Can you tell me what was the native name of what is now called Bloody Jack's Point, next to the Saltwater Creek? By doing so you will greatly oblige me. I am, &c, Old Identity.
The native name of the point in question was Mutumutu— ED. T.H.

Timaru Herald, 28 January 1865, Page 3
TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMARU HERALD. Sir, — It would be better to have a third-class light on Bloody Jack's Point, which would be of real service to all the coasting trade, and the whalers that frequent the Ninety-mile Beach. I am yours, &c. Work and Labour Done.

Timaru Herald, 23 August 1884, Page 2
It has been pointed out to us time after time that the lighthouse in Timaru is not placed on the right spot, and that it should be removed to the bluff overlooking the Patiti reefs. Masters of vessels are agreed upon this, and it is for the Harbor Board to take steps to alter its position. Patiti Bluff and Bloody Jack's Point are two high headlands, and vessels making for the port from the south in thick weather on a dark night are liable to come to grief, especially if they are strangers. It is almost as bad for craft coming from the northward, as the reef to the south extend such a distance seaward that it is a matter of no small difficulty to know where to anchor. Another requisite is a distinguishing light at the end of the Breakwater. We are aware that lights have been fixed there and washed away, but surely it is not beyond the limits of ingenuity to provide something more substantial.
    If there is one thing more than another with which certain parts of the colony have to contend, it is jealousy on the part of more powerful neighbors. South Canterbury had to fight for years before it could obtain the means to construct a breakwater at Timaru, and Hawkes Bay at the present time has an uphill fight before it to secure authority from Parliament to borrow money to construct harbor works at Napier.

North Otago Times, 3 June 1879, Page 2
DUNEDIN. June 2. The Riverton correspondent of the Southland News has it on the best authority that Mr Henry Hirst is agent for a man in Yorkshire, who lays claim to all the land in the district, the claim being comprised in a block purchased from that sanguinary old cannibal Bloody Jack, beginning at Howell's Point, and running along the coast westward for twenty miles, and inland for ten miles. Not a bad slice of country for any man, is it. There seems to be some ground for the claim, for the purchase or gift or whatever it may be termed is properly drawn up and duly signed and registered in the Land Office, Sydney, and is dated three years prior to the promises made in this part of New Zealand by Mr Commissioner Mantoll. Bloody Jack passed it over to Mr Johnny Jones, who in turn sold it to someone else, who passed it along to some other body, who disposed of it to this man in Yorkshire, who is at present reaching for it.

Timaru Herald, 28 June 1879, Page 2
Where is the shingle? There is little or no shingle to be seen on the beach between Bloody Jack's Point and the mouth of the Waitaki; in fact, there is less than has been known for years, the beach is principally composed of a very fine sand with here and there patches of large stones. It certainly cannot be contended that the Timaru Breakwater has caused this change, and we are the more ready to presume that it is due to there having been no heavy ..floods m the southern rivers lately to bring down the shingle.

Wanganui Herald, 27 November 1879, Page 2
Timaru. Nov. 26. A preliminary enquiry was held before the Collector of Customs to-day on the foundering of the schooner John Watson on Friday. Fresh evidence was adduced as to the damage done to the vessel caused through her not being able to stay, and she consequently grazed the reef off Bloody Jack's Point.

Otago Witness, 2 September 1876, Page 17
JOHN TUAWAIKI. TO THE EDITOR. [There was also a Bloddy Jack in Southland.]
Sir,—In your issue of the 19th inst. it is stated in Passing Notes that a gentleman who bad resided in the Colony for nearly 40 years, informs you of certain doings of " Old Bloody Jack," or John Tuawaiki. Now, Sir, whoever your informant may be, he is not correct in stating that "Bloody Jack " went to Sydney in a whaler. He certainly went, but in a vessel belonging to Johnny Jones that came down to take our oil and bone. The said Johnny Jones was then a merchant living in Sydney. Your informant states that when " Bloody Jack " was in Sydney he saw six men hung. That may be correct, bat I must certainly contradict your informant's statement that, when " Bloody Jack" returned, byway of introducing civilisation, he hung six of his own countrymen. Ho had no need to introduce civilisation by that method, for hanging, choking, and strangling were no novelty. Therefore, if hanging men constitutes civilisation, the Maories were, no doubt, more civilised than we are at the present day, for they did it in a respectable manner. Now, Sir, although Tuawaiki bore the name of " Bloody Jack," he was not the blood-thirsty wretch your informant would have you believe. Your informant states that he has been nearly 40 years in the Colony. If he will take a trip to Moeraki he will meet those who have been fully 40 years, and 15 years at the back of it, who know more about " Bloody Jack " and his antecedents than ever your informant did. I have been in Jack's company frequently, and knew him for years previous to his death. Therefore, if such an occurrence as that referred to above had taken place, I certainly should have known of it. One of Jack's sons was living with mo for some time, and in all our conversation such a subject was never mentioned. My wife is a Maori woman I have had upwards of 40 years, and she declares it to be false. I should like to know the name of your informant ; and if this should meet his eye ho will please observe that my name is Joe Rotherforth, An Old Whaler. Moeraki, 26th. August, 1876

Timaru Herald, 29 December 1880, Page 5

[From the Timaru Herald Dec. 17-] December 16, being the thirtieth anniversary of the landing of the first of the Canterbury Pilgrims at Lyttelton, was observed as a strict holiday in this and other portions of the Provincial District.
Timaru - Anglice, "The Shelter "—existed in name only, the noble savage alone wandering over the breezy, grassy downs and along the shingly beach. Possibly once or twice a year a whaling vessel might come into the Bight, but as a rule the warlike followers of Bloody Jack and such like renowned chieftains were the only dwellers on the coast between Moeraki and Akaroa. Up- to within a very few years past Maori ovens, were-to be found in many sheltered places around Timaru, but the plough has now destroyed almost every trace of them. As late as 1863 or 1864 a large number of Maoris were to be found in the pahs at Arowhenua, Waitangi, and Waimate. The native bush at the former, place lying between the rivers Temuka and Arowhenua, covered many hundred acres of ground, and the kakas, pigeons, tuis, etc., which made it their place of abode, proved on excellent and abundant source of food. A journey from Christchurch to Timaru in those days was very different from what it is now. It occupied, as a rule, nearly a week, and was performed on horseback or in drays. Accommodation houses were to be found on the banks of the principal rivers, but if a traveller at nightfall failed to make one of these, he generally had to camp out. If he knew the country at all, he might reach, one of the few stations which, were then :to be found under the foothills. The ''lordly squatter," as he is now called, was then a hard-working fellow—a very different sort of being, in fact. He was usually to be found dressed in a blue shirt; moleskin, duck or corduroy trousers, and a cabbage-tree hat. His boots were made more with a view to comfort than elegance, being either "water-tights" or "half- Wellingtons." His meal, to which all travellers were heartily welcome, consisted of mutton, bread without butter, and tea without milk; Pannikins were more fashionable than china cups, and damper than bread.; The "squatter" worked longer and harder then than in ordinary, day laborer does now, while the' laziest of the loafers who frequent our street would turn up his nose at his bill of fare. However, hard as the times were, and uphill the as the fight was the early settlers were happy and contented, and they deserve every penny they earned. They look back with pride to the time when they built their own huts, "tailed" their own sheep, "punched" their own- bullocks, and boiled their own billies. Canterbury, although almost the youngest settlement m New Zealand, has made more progress; than any other. In population she rapidly overhauling Otago; which has all the advantages of rich alluvial and quartz gold fields to allure people within her boundaries. ....

Timaru Herald, 5 September 1882, Page 3 INQUEST.
An inquest on the body of Edward Henry Tate, who was found dead on Saturday last, was held at Stone's Commercial Hotel yesterday, before J. Beswick, Esq., Coroner, and the following jury : — P. W. Hutton, J. Granger, C. F. Hallam, F. W. Cook, G. Stumbles, G. F. Clulee, G. F. Miles, G. Green, F. J. Wilson, R. Owen, A. Rule, AY. Davies and A. Henderson, Mr Hutton was chosen foreman. Inspector Ponder conducted the inquiry, and the jury having viewed the body, the following evidence was taken : — George Allen Wilson : Deceased was my uncle. I lived with him, and acted as clerk in his office. Deceased carried on business as land and insurance agent. I last saw him alive about half-past nine on the morning of Wednesday, the 30th August. He gave me some instructions respecting the office work, and gave me some letters and two deeds to post. He said he had a headache, and would go for an hour's walk before he came down to the office. A few minutes afterwards I saw him going down Theodocia street. He had not complained previously of headache. For a week or two before this he had been a good deal absent from the office, but he did not complain of ill health. When in the office he looked worried, but at home he was cheerful. I know that he was a good deal worried in business ; the recent fire had given him good deal of anxiety, so much that he was hardly able to attend to his own business He was a strong active man. I never saw anything in his conduct to lead me to suspect that he contemplated doing anything to injure himself. I believe I am the member of the family to whom deceased last spoke.
Alexander Bennett : I reside at Patiti Point, about one mile from Timaru. I know the deceased intimately. I last saw him alive on Wednesday last, about eleven o'clock in the morning. He was going as from Kensington towards the sea. He went down on the flat below the cemetery, and went toward the railway bridge. I know Mr Armitage's place, on Bloody Jack's Point. The only way to get there, from where deceased was is along the beach. I saw deceased near the bridge, as he approached it, but not afterwards. He was walking fast, but noticed nothing peculiar in his manner. There are no houses between where I last saw him and Bloody Jack's Point, nor for some distance beyond, so that he could go there without being seen.
Godfrey Ellis : I am a carter living in Timaru. On Saturday I was out along the beach near Bloody Jack's Point. There were some children, my sisters, with me. At one point a cliff rises to some height above the beach, and the little girls ran up to the top. They came back and told me there was a man sleeping on the top. I went up and found deceased lying among some tussocks, dead. I sent word to the police, and remained with the body until Inspector Pender arrived. Dr Hammond came immediately after, and examined the body in my presence. The body was not touched until Dr Hammond arrived. There was no sign of any kind of struggle having taken place. Samuel Hammond : I am a legally qualified medical practitioner living m Timaru. I have been medical attendant to deceased and his family for the last eleven years. Deceased has not bad good health. He has suffered from irritation of the brain. He was very excitable at times. About two years ago I sent him away to Melbourne on account of this affection. On Saturday, at the request of his widow I went out to the Point. I found deceased lying on his back, his hands clutching the tussocks. The face and hands were congested, and the hands puffed. There were no marks of external injury so far as I could see. I did not strip him. His dress was not at all disarranged, and there was no appearance at all of any struggle. He was then removed to town. The position of the body was quite consistent with the supposition that deceased had died in a fit of apoplexy. Knowing his state of health, I was not surprised to hear of his sudden death. I warned him two years ago, and he was also warned by doctors in Melbourne not to overwork himself.
James Francis Lovegrove : I am a duly qualified medical practitioner, residing in Timaru. I made a post mortem amination of the body of deceased. I found no marks of external violence. I found an effusion of fluid between the membranes of the brain and the brain itself. The whole brain was of a darker color than usual, showing congestion, sufficient I think to produce death. The lungs also were extremely congested, as is usual in cases of death from apoplexy. I have no reason to suspect any other cause of death. My opinion is that the cause of death was effusion of serum on the brain. The probability is that the effusion was of long standing. I heard Dr Hammond's evidence and the result of the post mortem was such as might be expected from the state of deceased's health as described by him. The Coroner made a brief remark upon the tendency of the evidence, and the jury, without retiring, returned a verdict "That the deceased, Edward Henry Tate, died from a fit of serous apoplexy."

Timaru Herald, 19 June 1884, Page 6
Mr R. H. Rhodes, like many others of the founders of the prosperity of Canterbury, has not been prominently before the public except as a man of large means, the country as a whole owes men of his stamp a great deal. It was the same pluck and energy which brought him in " Bloody Jack's " time, aye, and even before that, to a now and strange country that enabled him to amass the wealth he did. Men who come out to the colony nowadays are too often inclined to underrate the early settlers, and the work done by them. But too much credit cannot be given to those who risked their all in coming to a country which might well be described as a wilderness, and inhabited by a race verging on the cannibal.

Timaru Herald, 20 November 1884, Page 2
Sudden Death. — Tamati Tarawhata, an old chief residing at the Arowhenua pah, came into Temuka yesterday morning to attend the Court, and whilst in Mr Ackroyd's shop was seized with a fit. Every assistance was at once rendered to him, and medical aid sent for, which was unfortunately not to be obtained. Tamati after a time recovered, but was again seized, and on coming to again, he desired to be removed home. His wish was at once complied with. On reaching his residence, however, ha expired. An inquest will be held to-morrow. Tamati is supposed to be nearly 90 years of age. He took part in the battle between the natives at Bloody Jack's Point, Timaru, many years ago.

Timaru Herald, 7 October 1886, Page 3 SOUTH CANTERBURY CALEDONIAN SOCIETY.
Any stranger wishing to get a look of Mount Cook could not do better than visit the Caledonian grounds on New Year's Day. He would be well repaid for his visit by the scenery and sports. To the south of the grounds, a distance of about a mile and a-half, can be seen and visited easily Bloody Jack's Point, where the last great Maori battle in this district was fought, and where are said to still remain a number of Maori skulls buried in the sand. The ground is 8 acres in extent, is well fenced and panted with trees, which will in few years form a splendid shelter. Too much praise cannot be bestowed upon the honorable members for Timaru and Gladstone, viz., Mr R. Turnbull and Mr J. H. Sutter, for the trouble they have taken and the way they fought to secure this piece of ground. It will be a great boon to the town when finished.

Timaru Herald, 30 December 1886, Page 3
This block of buildings situate at the corner of George street and Cain's Terrace, has attracted a great deal of attention, and since the scaffolding and other things have been removed, has been much admired, both by residents of and visitors to Timaru. The site named is a splendid one, and like many other business sites m town is a " made one." It is only a few years since the Pacific Ocean used to Bend its waves right up to what is now familiarly called the Bank of New Zealand corner, there being at the period we speak of a deep creek running past this corner to the sea beach. Of this creek, its dangers, and the many accidents that happened to wool wagons, etc., in passing along the main road at this point, columns could be written, but just at present we must leave them to rest m the memory of the oldest inhabitants. It is now some months since the contract for building was let, and the tumble-down, unsightly, half burnt old shops were razed to the ground. To carry the enormous pile of brick and mortar, immense concrete foundations had to be put m, and this work was found to be very costly, and to some extent dangerous, because made ground is always treacherous, and liable to cave in without being polite enough to give workmen warning. In excavating the foundations and cellar, the George street culvert was found to be a great impediment to operations, and the unhealthy gases from it were a source of much annoyance to the laborers working on the job. The depth the foundations go down varies a little, the greatest being no less than 28ft 6in. In digging, amongst other strange things brought to light were a large number of whale bones, relics of the very early days indeed, when the European whalers first invaded the happy hunting grounds of Bloody Jack, who was himself very fond of invading other people's territory.

Felix M'Gahey, late of Timaru, lighthouse keeper. 1911
Timaru Herald, 14 March 1911, Page 4
McGAHEY. On March 10th, at the Timaru Hospital, Felix McGahey (Lighthouse keeper, Jack's Point), and the beloved husband of Catherine McGahey; aged 56 years. R.I.P. Deeply regretted (and was interred in Timaru Cemetery on Monday, 13th March).

The first Maoris to settle in the district appear to have at Patiti Point, with a subsidiary station at Whalers Creek. 

Otago Witness, 12 June 1901, Page 70 By Dr Hocken
... Many escaped into the neighbouring swamps, came down to Otago and still farther south, and lived to fight for many another day against their cruel enemy. Amongst them was the chief Tuhawaiki, so well and favourably known to the early New Zealand settlers. He was familiarly known as "Bloody Jack," and he was principally a resident in these parts. But he was not really cruel or bloody — that was a term of endearment conferred upon him by the whalers, who often saw him on the Waikouaiti sands, drilling his warriors against likely attacks. He was really one of our best friends — intelligent, industrious, hospitable, and polite, and his name appears first in the deed which made over to us the Otago block. Skilful sailor though he was, he was drowned in 1844 whilst guiding his little schooner past Moeraki in a tempestuous sea. A  word concerning Rauparaha. His conquest of the South Island thus completed, he returned to the north, and wherever he trod his footsteps were marked in blood. Then came 1840, the date of our colonisation, and three years later the dreadful affray with our countrymen at the Wairau when Rauparaha and his fellow chief Rangihaeata killed and severely wounded 27....

11 May 2002 Timaru Herald photo Jack's Point lighthouse silhouetted against the sunrise.
If you weren't up early yesterday morning, you missed stunning scenes such as this - the Jack's Point lighthouse silhouetted against the sunrise. But 110 years ago - almost to the day - the picture-perfect scene was different as the Elginshire had run aground. The inquiry into the May 9, 1892 shipwreck found that the coast was obscured by fog and the steamer's captain had mistaken the Jack's Point lighthouse for the one guiding ships into Timaru Harbour. The captain apparently got so close to shore - "little more than a stone's throw from the beach" - that he was able to ask the guard on a passing train where he was. When he tried to turn around to head out to sea, the Elginshire was caught on the reef and wrecked. The lighthouse operates automatically these days, shining a welcome light to fishermen about 10 nautical miles out to sea.  

April Fool

6 April 2005 Timaru Herald
It's just as well there's only one April Fools Day in the year because it annually exposes how gullible we can all be. As Mark Twain so aptly observed: The first of April is the day we remember what we are on the other 364 days of the year. Last Friday's article and photograph in The Timaru Herald about the demolition of the Hydro Grand Hotel had a fair number of people fooled -- even though the article said the building had been demolished overnight and the article was accompanied by a photograph of the wrecked Hydro Grand that appeared to have been taken in broad daylight.
    Last year's spoof about the Jacks Point lighthouse being sold to the Taiwanese also tested the credulity of Timaruvians and quite a few readers fell for the hoax. No wonder they sold the Jacks Point lighthouse to the Taiwanese. No one in New Zealand can afford to run lighthouses anymore.  If ever there was an account that smacked of an April Fools Day spoof, then this was surely it.

Timaru Herald June 11 2014
John Bisset's first published, computer altered image, was for April Fools Day, 2004. It was a picture showing the Jack's Point lighthouse on a barge being towed out to sea after supposedly being sold to overseas interests. If you had read carefully the hilarious account written by the late Lindsay Mutch explaining how it was to be turned upside down and used for a submarine base, you should have clicked immediately that it was a wind up.  That didn't, however, stop a certain councillor from rushing into chambers demanding to know why he wasn't informed of the lighthouse's sale.  The next year we "demolished" the Hydro Grand. It almost caused a traffic jam as people rushed down to get a souvenir brick.

2 April 2004 Timaru Herald
Ask Maritime Safety about the Jacks Point lighthouse and there is only one word for their response - illuminating.
Yesterday's April Fool's photograph of the Jacks Point Lighthouse supposedly being towed to Taiwan to become an underwater beacon for submarines appears to have contained a tad more truth than we had realised. A reader asked exactly who owned the lighthouse, and what was its history. A call to MSA provided the answers - and the intriguing news that the lighthouse has already made a trip by sea. Although there had been an earlier light tower at Jacks Point or Tuhawaiki, the present tower has been on site for almost a century - since July 1904. And while we might have thought we were joking when we mocked up a photo of the lighthouse being towed behind a tug, its arrival in Timaru was by sea. The lighthouse began life on Somes Island in the Wellington harbour on February 16, 1866, making it one of the earliest lighthouses in New Zealand. MSA records show the first lighthouse was built at Pencarrow in the late 1850s and a cluster of structures followed in the mid 60s. The cast iron tower is bolted together meccano-style. When it was decided to install a more powerful light at Wellington, the existing tower was taken to pieces. Some years later it was loaded on to the lighthouse service's tender for the voyage to its new southern home. The design is believed to be English in origin and is the only one of its type in New Zealand. Even though the light is now automated, the lighthouse still gets a visit from MSA staff every six months. Among the tasks carried out on those visits is the cleaning of the windows in the tower. It's probably looking as good now as it ever has, as contractors completed painting it about six weeks ago. The light is intended to guide "ships in passage" according to the MSA, rather than vessels negotiating the coastline with the light being visible up to nine nautical miles out to sea. In spite of that, Jacks Point was the scene of a shipwreck back in 1892 when the captain of the Elginshire mistook the lighthouse for the entrance of the harbour. For those wanting to take a closer look at the structure, a 10-minute walk along the beach from the end of Ellis Road takes you to the site. And it's not only locals who walk to the lighthouse. Property owner Andrew Gray has met European and British visitors who make a point of visiting every lighthouse they can on their overseas holiday.

Somes Is, photo taken ny William Williams, in 1886, ATL.

Timaru Harbour Lighthouse

Te whenua te whenua
Te oranga mō te iwi
Nō ngā tūpuna
Tuku iho tuku iho

The land, the land
Is the life for the people
Comes from the ancestors
Handed down through the passages of time

From here you can see New Zealand's tallest peak to the vast Pacific Ocean. Aoraki/Mount Cook, is clearly visible through the gap in the hills at Burkes Pass.

Taken by M.T. Nov. 2011

South Canterbury NZGenWeb Project