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The Brothers Island Lighthouse is New Zealand's only rock station. Extremely isolated and desolate, the Brothers Islands are situated on the western side of Cook Strait.
Location: latitude 41Â°06' south, longitude 174Â°26' east
Elevation: 79 metres above sea level
Construction: wooden tower
Tower height: 12 metres
Light configuration: modern rotating beacon
Light flash character: white light flashing on every 10 seconds
Power source: batteries charged by solar panels
Range: 19 nautical miles (35 kilometres)
Date light first lit: 1877
History of Brothers Island Lighthouse:
The Brothers Island Lighthouse, built in 1877, replaced the light on Mana Island, which sailors often confused with the light at Pencarrow Head. The lighthouse was built on the larger of the two islands. The tower was built on the highest tip to provide all round visibility of the light. The island is an extremely isolated and desolate rock, which made building the lighthouse a challenge. There was not enough soil for the workmen to pitch their tents. They were forced to build huts for their accommodation. There was no drinking water on the island and all water, food and supplies had to be shipped in. It took 60 days to land the first shipment of building supplies because of gales and rough seas. Brothers Island was the last manned lighthouse in New Zealand.
Operation of the Brothers Island light:
The light began operation with oil-powered illumination in September 1877. It was converted to diesel-generated electricity in 1954. The station was automated and the last keepers were withdrawn in 1990. The original light beacon has now been replaced with a 50 watt tungsten halogen beacon which is powered from batteries that are charged by solar panels. The light is monitored remotely from Maritime New Zealand's Wellington office.
Access to Brothers Island Lighthouse:
Brothers Island Lighthouse is inaccessible to the public. The island is now a restricted-access wildlife sanctuary administered by the Department of Conservation. It is home to tuatara and numerous other endangered species.