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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

August 2014

Andrew Trotter and his 'Trotter Track'

When we visited my grandparents Andy and Feia Trotter, we would often choose to walk to their Bach via this track as it was the quickest way. We always hoped to see a wallaby but rarely did, but there was always hope! Their Bach was called R – U – IN, now site 105.

My grandparents came to Auckland about 1930 and knew of Rangitoto as they had visited their cousins the Craig's, who managed their daughter's farm on Motutapu. These visits possibly led them to build their Bach on Rangitoto. When it was built I do not know but it was there in 1932. My grandfather Andy was a small man but he was very strong and was used to working hard in the Hikurangi mines from the time he was 12 years old. I guess he wanted the quickest way to his Bach. He knew how to 'dig rocks'. I know how hard basalt is to dig through, after my brother and I dug the last dunny hole for him using a crow bar!

I recall 'Pampa' was always adding cockle shells to the track. We would gather the cockles in a flax 'kit' from the channel near the opening of 'The Gap', and then bring them back to the Bach. He'd put them in a big black cauldron on the wood stove and wait for them to cook and cool, before devouring them, often with homemade bread that Nana had made. It was always delicious! Andy would then put the water onto the garden and carry the empty shells (he hated waste), to where the track was barest, tip them out, and our feet would do the rest, crushing them as we walked back and forth to the wharf.

Returning from a day trip to Auckland, Andy was found dead on his beloved track in June 1960.

Written by Andrew's eldest grandson Colin in November 2013

Swimming Pool at Rangitoto Wharf

Recently the two very bad spells of weather with extremely high tides and winds wreaked havoc on the swimming pool causing the outer wall near outlet. The damage is severe and adds to the overall unkempt look of the pool. The community regularly clean the pool but to see this damage makes ones heart sink. The Department of Conservation does not have the resources and neither does the Trust to effect and repairs or restoration that the Pool desperately needs.

In late April the Trust along with RIBCA made an application to the Community Conservation Partnerships Fund for the monies to restore the swimming pool for public use. We are not hopeful as the announcement date for successful applications has passed and we have not heard anything positive. Should anyone have any other funding ideas for a large amount of money please let us know.

Wharf Update

The blessing and opening of Te Wharoa o Peteru (carved gateway) and the new wharf for Rangitoto Island will happen on Thursday 14th August. Progress on building the wharf was slow with the project striking difficulty cutting through the rock to place the piles etc.

Marine Archaeology

Recently Kurt Bennett from Flinders University, South Australia, studying for his Masters in Marine Archaeology came to visit Rangitoto Island to find and record the use of materials in baches from the 50 or so wrecks on the Island

He found portholes and water tanks that have been put to adaptive re-use. Thank you to those who opened up their Bach and who told him their stories.

Excerpt from UNESCO Asia Conserved Volume II

The restoration of the historic caretaker's cottage in the seaside community of Rangitoto Island has conserved a unique building typography. The conservation works were carried out in a modest and effective manner, allowing for continuity in the building's function within the community. The attention to detail, such as interior finishes, has allowed the building fabric to remain intact. The building has been appropriately adapted into a museum and information centre that serves a valuable public education purpose. The community grassroots effort in accomplishing the project is to be praised.

Auckland Heritage Festival

Once again the Trust will be participating in the Auckland Heritage Festival. The dates are 27th, 28th September, 4th, 5th, 11th and 12th October. Tell your friends, work colleagues and relatives and make a group and come and enjoy a walk, talk and cream scone with tea or coffee.

BNZ – Closed for Good

Once again the Trust has been selected to host BNZ volunteers on the 4th September. The project will be centred on Bach 38 and what or how we can offer a wider range of activities to diverse groups e.g. school parties studying Rangitoto biology, craft and art groups using found materials at the same time as increasing our funding stream from the Bach.

Don't forget to check our website and Rangitoto Island on Facebook.

Rangitoto Ramblings [pdf] 3.83mb