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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


The recent upgrade of the scout bach new paint etc is certainly an improvement. It has been undertaken by Devonport Scouts under the leadership of Devonport Scoutmaster Chris Jones. Chris has just written a thoroughly researched and illustrated history of the bach known as Scoutsville. It is a fascinating read with incidents familiar to the history of many other baches on the island.

It was the 1st Devonport Scout Group leader Scoutmaster E L Sturmfels who first applied for a site in December 1914. The Devonport Domain Board granted them a site to erect a small shelter over the New Year period free of charge. Furthermore, they were permitted to sell Lemonade and Hot Water at 3d per bottle. These early entrepreneurs were not in competition with Walter Pooley's tearooms as he only got permission in 1917.

Trouble came in January 1920 when it was revealed that the bach had been transferred to the name of Mr Sturmfel without the Board's permission, and despite his appeals he was issued with eviction notice in April 1921. The matter didn't end there and in 1922 it was reported that the Devonport Scout Troup, under the new Scoutmaster Arthur Knowles, was, 'proposing to take legal opinion regarding the ownership of the whare …'.

This prompted the Devonport Domain Board to grant another site for the Scouts to build a bach near the playground in December 1922. The bach was completed in time for the Christmas 1923 camp and has hosted numerous scout groups over the last ninety years. The site of the 1914 bach remains unknown.

Scout - photo courtesy of Chris White

Scout – Photo courtesy of Chris White

Auckland Heritage Festival

The Trust is running its famous cream scone, tea and tours twice a day on Sundays 30th September, 7th & 10th October and Wednesday 3rd October at Rangitoto Wharf. We will have a presence at Islington Bay on the weekend of 6th & 7th of October while RIBCA run their tours. Dave Veart of DoC is doing a tour in the footsteps of Logan Campbell at Rangitoto Wharf on the 6th of October. Logan Campbell walked to the summit every year and it is 100 years since he died. Bookings through Fullers either by phone 367 9111 or online at

Treasure Island Update

With the removal of the mammalian pests nearly two years ago, several bird releases have been held on Rangitoto and Motutapu Island. Hazel Speed of DOC sends us regular updates on how the birds are progressing and it is all good news. Not long after the first release in June of 2011 nearly all Saddleback/Tieke had paired up, built nests and had eggs.

Saddleback eggs and fledgeling

Saddleback/Tieke eggs and fledging – photos by Hazel Speed

The Takahe that were released on Motutapu at the same time are reported as still "stooging around" and have staked out their own territories. The latest report on the Saddleback/Tieke reported a minimum of 38 fledglings. There was another release of birds this time Shore Plover/Tuturuatu at Islington Bay and Whiteheads/Popokatea at the summit in April 2012, most of these birds have been sighted since. Hazel also reports an increase in Kakariki moving in from other Islands.

Restoration Update

Bach 52 at Rangitoto Wharf now has a new roof, guttering and spouting provided water to its tanks. The bach no longer has leaks and painting has begun. Further work is progressing very slowly while we concentrate on the two baches at Islington Bay and the wharf upgrade takes place.

Bach 52 Roof Replacement

Bach 52: Roof replacement

Bach 103 "Flounder Inn" at Gardiners Gap has also received a new roof. While it is drying out, the restoration programme is being written and the Trust is organising materials. While the roof was being done, old newspapers were found. They were recorded and then returned in situ as part of the heritage fabric of the bach.

Newspaper remnants

Bach 103: Newspaper remnants found when the roof was replaced.

Bach 78 which has been on hold for sometime is about to receive a big dose of TLC. The Trust has contracted Graham Ball Builders Ltd to undertake all the structural work that is required before the roof can go on as well as putting on the roof. The work will take approx 6 weeks but is very weather dependent so the work site is off limits until mid November. After this work has been done, volunteers will be able to start on the easier tasks of puttying and painting etc.

Rag Rugs

Many of the baches have unique rugs, definite time period pieces. Marion McDonald one of our Museum volunteers has recently completed a rug for the bedroom at Bach 38. She has know turned her talents to making another one this time for Bach 52. She needs some raw material however so if you have any clean old T-shirts of the knit variety in pale colours please put them to one side and email or phone 445 1894.

Rag Rug from old t-shirts

An example of a rag rug made from old T-shirts

Treaty Settlements

The Tämaki Collective, also known as Ngä Mana Whenua o Tämaki Makaurau, is made up of Ngäi Tai ki Tämaki, Ngäti Maru, Ngäti Päoa, Ngäti Tamaoho, Ngäti Tamaterä, Ngäti Te Ata, Ngäti Whanaunga, Ngäti Whätua o Kaipara, Ngäti Whätua Öräkei, Te Äkitai, Te Kawerau ä Maki, Te Patukirikiri and Te Runanga o Ngäti Whätua. Just before the election last year the Crown and the Tämaki Collective signed a Record of Agreement to form the basis for deed of settlement about the Collective members' shared interests. The Record of Agreement builds on the Framework Agreement signed in February 2010. The settlement involves the transfer of 15 volcanic cones or maunga, including One Tree Hill and Mt Eden, which were announced when the Framework Agreement was signed, and four additional sites added in subsequent negotiations: Mt Albert, Mt Smart, North Head Historic Reserve and Wiri Historic Reserve. Ownership is being transferred to the Tämaki Collective because of the historic, spiritual and culture significance of the maunga. There will be no changes to public access and third party rights including infrastructure, buildings and leases will be protected. The cones will be co-governed by a body made up of Auckland Council, the Tämaki Collective and a Crown representative. This is a significant development towards a unified management regime for Auckland's volcanic cones. The Tämaki Collective and the Crown are now using this agreement to finalise the detail of a Deed of Settlement. (Excerpt from Kokiri Ngatahi April 2012)

The Collective Deed provides for the vesting of four motu (islands) in the Tāmaki Collective for a one month period, after which the Tāmaki Collective will vest back the motu to the Crown for the benefit of all New Zealanders. Those motu are:

• Rangitoto
• Motutapu
• Motuihe
• Tiritiri Matangi

This arrangement provides recognition of the association that the collective iwi / hapū have with these motu. The sites will continue to be subject to reserve status and there will be no change to the management arrangements for the motu during and after the vesting and vest back. Three areas on Rangitoto will vest in the permanent ownership of Ngā Mana Whenua o Tāmaki Makaurau. They are the summit of Rangitoto (to be named Ngā Pona-Toru-a-Peretū) and two sites at Islington Bay associated with historical waka mooring (Islington Bay Community Hall and Islington Bay Bach 80). These sites will continue to be subject to scenic reserve classification. Public access to these sites will be protected and Nga Mana Whenua o Tamaki Makaurau will be able to use buildings on the Bach 80 site for private use. The new Nga Pona-Toru-a-Peretu Scenic Reserve will continue to be administered by the Department of Conservation. (excerpt from summary of settlement – Tamaki Collective)

Further information including the deeds of settlement can be found on


Please check and recheck all you bags, clothing and footwear for stowaways, for animals, insects and plants. Have all your food securely packaged in sealed containers and in closed carry bags. The Trust makes sure all its materials required for restoration are thoroughly checked and packaged before being delivered to Island.

Don't forget to check our website as it is updated regularly and Rangitoto Island on Facebook.

Flooding at pool

This photo was taken January this year when a king tide and heavy rain left its mark on the island. The pool has never been so full! - Photo courtesy of Andy Heyward.

Thank you for reading
Elizabeth Andrew

Rangitoto Ramblings [pdf] 1.1mb