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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)

Rangitoto Ramblings

Motutapu Stakeholders Group – after asking last year if we could join this informal group and been told no, we were pleasantly surprised to receive an invitation to the last meeting.  Now called the Motutapu and Rangitoto Stakeholders group it is an informal way of keeping all the organisations working on the two islands up-to-date with projects, events and concerns.

Rangitoto – a smoke free destination?  What do you think?  Watching with concern the tinder dry undergrowth namely the dead weeds, the visitors that disembark from the ferry and light a cigarette and the fire last year the Trust wondered whether Rangitoto should be like Kapiti Island a smoke-free destination.  If you have to have a puff then you have to be on the wharf or similar.  It would be a shame to see Rangitoto literally go up in smoke because of a carelessly dropped cigarette butt.  The Trust is keen to get your feedback.

Charities Commission – a recent seminar held be the Charities Commission was attended by Shirley who found it extremely helpful.  We are encouraged to put our Charities number on all our documentation and of course if you donate to the Trust we can give you a receipt to claim off your tax.  The Museum has a receipt book as well so just ask.

Permit – Yes we finally got our permit!!!  After asking for extra time to peer review the application we finally signed it off a few months ago.  We need to keep good records so at Bach 38 there is a new records book for noting visitor numbers, sales and any interesting incidents.  Read Susan’s report for more detail.  Currently your Trustees are following up with Management Agreements for Bach 38 and 114 and about Bach 80 with the Department so that a transparent procedure is put in place for their maintenance and renting out to the public.

Rangitoto Wharf

Rangitoto Wharf – the wharf upgrade has been postponed until after the Rugby World Cup, difficulties with resource consent and engineering details meant it was better to delay the project.  Also the costs involved were too high so the eventual wharf will be a much planner affair than originally envisaged.

Summit Track – The summit track is getting a long overdue upgrade.  With the numbers of people climbing the track – during the school holidays on the fine weekend over 600 people alighted from the ferry each day – the track has become dangerous and is very uneven in places.

Motutapu Dual - The Dual run by the Motutapu Trust ran again this year.  The Trust asked them not to traverse through the Kidney Fern Track and Prison Camp and we are pleased to report they did as we asked.  There are still some timing issues with runners still coming down the summit track as visitors are trying to go up but the Dual is set to run again on the 26th March 2011.

Rugby World Cup – while there are no games scheduled to be played on Rangitoto we will need to be prepared for an influx of visitors.  Fullers are looking at new ways to increase the visitor experience, we will keep you informed.  We certainly will be trying to have the Museum open during that time but will need more volunteers so if you are interested drop a line to Susan.

Bottled Water – we needed water for our volunteers while they work.  Waiwera Water has allowed us to have an account and provides water at cost.  We are now selling it at Bach 38 to very grateful people who find themselves parched after the climb to the summit.  It has become a nice money earner for us and helps with the repair and maintenance of Bach 38.

Rangitoto Island Toilets

Toilets at Rangitoto Wharf – earlier this year these caused a real stink and it wasn’t their smell.  The old toilets which couldn’t cope with visitor number were revamped and it raised a more than eyebrows. They are now unisex with a row of toilets and a separate row of basins.  The front wall was replaced too only it was see-through.  Supposed to cut down vandalism and loitering it was too embarrassing for many members of the public.  It is nice to see that a opaque mural has now been affixed to the bottom half to provide a ‘modesty line’.

Website – Thanks to Andy the website had a major facelift last year and a lot more photos and stories have been added.  There is also a Facebook page for Rangitoto and photos can now also be linked to Flickr. So if you take photos or can remember a story that you would like to share Andy is only too pleased to put them on the web.

Pest eradication - Richard Griffiths reports that the program continues to go well, only one hedgehog has been found and no new indications of rats, mice or rabbits.  They are reminding people to pack items going to the Island properly  e.g. closed lidded containers, no open boxes etc and for people to check camping gear before getting on the ferry.

Open Day – North Head – 19th September 2010 to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Barracks.  Picnic on the reserve while listening to the 1812 Overture being played.

Auckland and North Shore Heritage Festivals 2010 – See Susan’s newsletter for details, Fullers will be doing all the bookings, so pencil a visit on one of the Sundays in September and October.

Fullers – The ferry timetable for the Summer of 2010/11 will be the same as last summer, so there will be a ferry sailing from Half Moon bay and ones to Home Bay on Motutapu.  They will also be involved with transporting volunteers for the Sustainable Coastlines cleanup of Rangitoto Island in December.

Thank you for reading
Elizabeth Andrew

Rangitoto Ramblings [doc] 452kb