Area 2: Te Raeakiaki

Updated: Aug 13, 2020

The Māori name for Pencarrow Head, Te Raeakiaki, means ‘the headland where the sea pounds’. Gravel carried into the harbour by the Orongorongo and Wainuiomata rivers is thrown back onto this coast by southerly storms. As much as 40,000 cubic metres of sand and gravel form there each year. Much of it is removed for building.

The windswept, rocky coastline is a danger to ships entering Wellington Harbour. New Zealand’s first lighthouse was built in 1859 at Pencarrow and operated until 1935. It was replaced by a stronger electric lighthouse on nearby Baring Head.

Te Raeakiaki, also known as Pencarrow, is a headland in the Wellington Region of New Zealand and the name of the surrounding area.

It is the eastern headland that marks the entrance to Wellington Harbour. The area is located south of Eastbourne and is part of Lower Hutt. The area is hilly and has no road access; a walking or mountain biking track follows the coast line. The head marks the northern end of Fitzroy Bay.

The main attraction of Pencarrow Head is the Pencarrow Head Lighthouse, the first permanent lighthouse in New Zealand constructed in 1859. It is one of Wellington's most notable heritage locations and New Zealand's only female lighthouse keeper, Mary Bennett, worked here. The return walk from Eastbourne takes four hours.

The Pencarrow lakes, Lake Kohangapiripiri and Lake Kohangatera, are freshwater wetlands that were blocked from the sea by earthquake activity.

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