Latitude: 35° 10′ South
Longitude: 174°20′ East
The light was lit for the first time on 21 February 1910, and the keepers withdrawn in 1978. The light now shines from a 4 metre-high fibreglass tower, and is 146 metres above sea level. Its white light flashes every 15 seconds, and can be seen for 17 nautical miles (31 kilometres). The old classic tower now stands unlit.
In 1906 it was decided to build another watched lighthouse along the stretch of
coastline between Cape Maria Van Dieman and Moko Hinau Island, marking the northern approach to Auckland Harbour. Cape Brett, at the entrance to the Bay of
Islands, was chosen as the site, and the light was first lit in February 1910. The cast iron tower was manufactured locally by the Judd Engineering Company of Thames, shipped to the site in sections and winched, by means of a specially constructed tramway, up a 22 metre-high cliff prior to construction.
The light itself was a new design, the first of its kind in New Zealand. Until then, revolving lights had been supported on wheels. The Cape Brett light used a float of mercury, which meant a heavier and more powerful light could turn around faster. This was an important breakthrough in lighthouse history, as it meant there could be more variation between the flashes at different stations. Cape Brett was an important site during the Second World War. During this time, two naval coast guards were appointed to the cape to keep an around-the-clock watch on all shipping in the area. As fears of an enemy invasion grew, the navy and air force built their own station at the Cape, behind the lighthouse.
The keepers were expected to help build this station as part of their duties. This was not acceptable to the assistant keeper, who wrote a letter of complaint to the Marine Department, resulting in the keepers being paid overtime for their extra work. Unfortunately, the servicemen and lighthouse keepers were often in conflict over safety rules laid down by the keepers. This came to a head with the death of a sailor during a night landing of supplies. The young sailor had fallen while trying to scale the cliff from the landing block, instead of using the steps. The principal keeper wrote of the accident: „Ignorance, carelessness and stupidity have broken the good name of this station… keepers and their families have used them [the
concrete landing block and steps] without mishap for forty years!“ This was the last night landing to be carried out on the Cape.
With the end of the war the keepers returned to their normal routines. This included lighthouse duties, regular weather reports, and keeping a watchful eye on recreational boats. The station was connected to electric mains power in 1968, and 10 years later was replaced with a fully automatic beacon, which stands in front of the disused tower.