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Welcome to Rangitoto Island, Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand

The youngest of the islands in the Hauraki Gulf, Rangitoto emerged from the sea around 700 years ago in a series of volcanic explosions. Rising to a height of 260 metres the circular island presents the same uniform appearance and is visible from most parts of the mainland. Rangitoto's name has been translated to mean the day the blood of Tamatekapua was shed, relating to a major Maori battle at Islington Bay about 1350. Rangitoto is an icon of Auckland city.

Situated about 8 km northeast of Auckland and connected to Motutapu Island by a causeway, Rangitoto is a large island of 2311 hectares with a wonderful volcanic landscape that supports over 200 species of moss, plants and trees including the largest Pohutukawa forest in the world. It was purchased by the Crown in 1854, set aside as a recreation reserve in 1890 and for over 30 years the island's volcanic scoria was quarried and shipped to Auckland. Between 1925 and 1936 prison labour built roads on the island and a track to the summit.

There are some 10 or so short and long walks around the island and from the summit there are magnificent views of the Hauraki Gulf, the Waitemata Harbour and Auckland city.

Rangitoto Islands' unique geological and natural attributes are of international interest. What is less known is that the three Bach Settlements of Rangitoto Wharf, Islington Bay and Beacon End are also of national importance.

The bach communities on Rangitoto Island were built in the 1920's and 30's and consist of private holiday dwellings and boatsheds as well as communal facilities such as paths, swimming pool, community hall and tennis courts. Built by families, using the scarce resources of the Depression era, the buildings demonstrate the 'kiwi' do-it-yourself, jack-of-all-trades attitudes of the times.

As a result of a prohibition order on further buildings in 1937, the remnants of the communities reflect this specific time in Auckland's development and as a result they are part of local history involving typical New Zealanders in a unique environment.

Because other bach communities, which were prevalent throughout the country, have virtually disappeared, the Rangitoto bach settlements are irreplaceable artefacts of New Zealand's architectural, and social history and therefore are important beyond their locality.

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Museum Bach Opening Hours

Bach 38 Museum at Rangitoto Wharf will be open by appointment
Opening times are from the first Fullers ferry of the day to the last ferry of the day.

Open other days by appointment -

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Latest Additions

Education Pages

New content added to the education pages here>>

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Rangitoto Scouts

Photos of the Scout Camps in the 1930s, 1948 and 1951 here>>

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Rangitoto Wrecks

Photos of the wrecks here>>

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Rangitoto Ramblings

The latest newsletter is available here>>

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Gareth Cooke Photos

Gareth has taken a series of photos of the Rangitoto Baches and wrecks view his online gallery here>>

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From the TVNZ Archives

A Summer Place

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Photos of Rangitoto Island submitted by the public on Flickr are here>>

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Rangitoto Island Biosecurity Standards. Find out what you need to know here>>

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The Environmental Care Code and Water Care Code can be found here>>

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New photos have been added to the galleries here>>

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Charitable Trust

The Rangitoto Island Historic Conservation Trust is Charities Commission registered - our number is CC28141 - so all donations over $5 are tax deductible. View certificate here>>
More information on societies and trusts here>>

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Major financial sponsor
AMP Financial Services Limited

Weather for Rangitoto today
Check out what the weather is doing over the Auckland area.

Tide reports -
Check out the high and low tide
for Auckland area

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Heritage Notes
Restoration / #38 / #114
Membership / How to join
Submit / Stories & Photos
Bach 38 / Open Day Images

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Key facts about Rangitoto Island

Maori name: Rangitoto, derived from the phrase 'Te Rangi i totongia a Tamatekapua - the day the blood of Tamatekapua was shed'.

Location: Auckland City, map reference NZMS 260: R11/762888

Height: 260 m

Age: Formed about 600 years ago
(ca 1400 AD)

Volume lava: about 2,300 million cubic metres (equivalent to 468,000 Olympic sized swimming pools)

Volume tuff/ash/pyroclastics: about 19 million cubic metres (equivalent to 3,800 Olympic sized swimming pools)

Rubbish on the bargeInorganic clean up.

The Rangitoto/Motutapu Island inorganic clean up.
February 12th - 25th 2002

As you can see from the included letter we have indeed done great things. To bring you all up-to-date - everything we removed from the island weighed a whopping 30700kgs, that's just over 30 tonne! The bins weighed 6.06, 4.72, 5.26, 5.28, and 5.96 tonne each. The glass weighed in at 2.79 tonne! Altogether it was 160m3 and if you look at the picture to the right you can see how it left Islington Bay on Monday the 25th of February. By the way we totally underestimated how much rubbish there was on both islands and we didn't clean up everything on Rangitoto and DoC have still the bunkers to finish on Motutapu!

Cars loaded on the truckThe Trust must thank all the sponsors - Auckland Regional Council Environmental Initiatives Fund for the barge, Zero Waste Trust for the safety gear, Trillian Trust for the equipment hire, Rex Wheels and Castors for the trolley, Hirepool and Hiretown for the wheel barrows, Fullers for discounting the tickets and ARC for discounting the tickets even further and the Department of Conservation for the second barge trip. Last but not least all the volunteers - some of whom were inveigled under false pretences - ask Lynfield College about that one, some who used it to gain hours for service certificates, others who felt it was just the right thing to do - without you all this could not have been done. Also the DoC staff, which gave up weekdays and weekends to see it through - thank you every one, give yourselves a pat on the back.

Crushing the water tanksThere were some wonderful stories that happened during the clean-up - like the feather mattress that caught alight and smoldered away, the old mattress that had been growing, so when it was moved Kevin and Sarah literally wore it. The un-named volunteer her shut her fingers in the car door before coming and still carried lots of rubbish. Heike, a visitor to NZ who was guaranteed a great Kiwi experience. The trip back on Mike Morris boat - it was a great deal faster than the ferry! Water tanks - I don't think anyone had seen so many water tanks or indeed roofing iron - see the picture on the right and to top it all off, CAR BODIES!
And the method used to crush the tanks and turn them into tinfoil was strictly kiwi ingenuity. Some on the treasure that was found - whale oil, gramophone needles, wooden cheese graters and some that got away 1940's janola bottles - that wont happen again.