Pouto lighthouse erosion threat

by Paul Campbell

Vehicles including quad bikes are being blamed for sand erosion around the iconic North Head lighthouse at Pouto and visitors to the site are being asked to keep their distance as remedial work is being planned.

Heritage New Zealand is working with the Department of Conservation to protect the 135-year-old structure, which was built to help safeguard shipping that once served Kaipara Harbour.

“We are about to start a project that will address some of the immediate environmental issues around the historic lighthouse — including a programme of planting to tackle erosion,” says Heritage New Zealand northern assets manager, Natalie McCondach.

“Plans to erect some appropriate fencing around the building to ensure that the lighthouse is safeguarded against potential damage, without impacting its visual presence, are also underway. In the meantime, visitors are being asked to exercise some caution around the building.”

Driving to the Kaipara North Head Lighthouse is a favourite trip among four-wheel-drive enthusiasts. Visitors are requested not to drive their vehicles up to the lighthouse and keep a safe distance between them and the building.

“The future of this lighthouse depends on all of us, so we’re just reminding all visitors to take care around this special landmark,” Ms McCondach said.