Its purpose was to be the main approach light to the Wellington Harbour as well as a coastal light for the Cook Strait. Lit on 18 June 1935, it replaced the light at Pencarrow Head which was decommissioned later that year. The lighthouse was initially powered by a diesel generator but was converted to mains electricity in 1950. The 1000 W light was fully automated in 1989. In 2005, the original lens was replaced by a flashing LED beacon visible from up to 18 kilometres (10 nmi).