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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 Island Historic Conservation Trust

April 2004

This is the first newsletter of the year. It is a little late but worth reading all the same!

18th April 2003, 2.30pm, North Head Tunnels, Devonport

Arrangements have been made for a guided tour of the North Head Tunnels and the recently restored disappearing gun. Dave Veart from the Department of Conservation will take us through. There is also a short video on the gun and the history of the area.
There will be time for a cuppa in one of the restored barracks on North Head. (Please bring a plate, tea/coffee provided) Further details are available from John Walsh or Susan Yoffe. Come and join in – it will be a great family outing.
Visitors Welcome

2004 Working Bees
April 24th
May 15th
June 19th
July 17th
August 21st
September 8th
October 16th
November 20th.

The first few working bees have come and gone with a number of people turning up to help – we can always use more, see Allan’s column. The weather has not been at all kind to us since New Year with a couple of days lost due to bad weather and restricted ferry access. Working bees are held on the third Saturday of every month. Occasionally an extra one is called for a specific job.

Maintenance Corner with Allan
Welcome to 2004. Things are now flying ahead and there is a lot of work to get through. We need to complete Bach 38 and start on 114.
All the work so far has been done by the loyal few but now we are picking up the pace we are looking for other members to help. Granted there will be work there that you can’t do, but what I do is try and organise each job and arrange to have the material required there on time and it sometimes works. There are always small jobs for smaller fingers. Soon there will be gentle sanding to do on the inside.
If you feel you would like to help and become more actively involved it would help if we could contact you direct so if the weather changes etc we can call let you know. Also if we have an idea of the skills you have we can arrange to have tools etc ready.
So please send your name, address, number; home, mobile or work number, email address and skills to Allan Godsall, 13 Kiekie Road, Mangere Bridge, Auckland or email
The Trust supplies morning tea and lunch we just need to know if you are vegetarian. There are also rebated ferry tickets $15.30 instead of $20.20 to those coming to working bees. Tickets are available through Elizabeth.
Over the last two working bees we had Peter along helping to do the flaring of the bay windows which has been a great help and we thank him for his expertise in this challenge. He made it look easy but we know differently.
The wiring has also been checked and this has resulted in a re-wiring of the Bach. The plumbing is now working, the chimney has passed its fire inspection. So all in all, if one wanted to stay the night, one could. So we need some bedding – mattress preferably vinyl covered, duvet or similar and pillows - for the times we need to have a custodian in the Bach when it is vulnerable due to work making it unlockable.
A couple of weeks ago the cognoscenti of Auckland City’s heritage fraternity visited Bach 38 to look at progress. George Farrant from Auckland City, Bruce Petry from Salmond Reed, Sarah MacCready from DoC and Richard Gordon from our sponsor AMP went with Susan, Allan and Elizabeth to discuss and make plans for the restoration and conservation of the inside of the Bach.
The marked improvement on the weather-tightness was commented on as well as the wonderful job that is being done to the outside. It is now the insides turn. The wallpapers in particular will come in for some special treatment as will the ceilings and woodwork and vinyls. More on this in the next newsletter but in the interim period we have to be very careful where we walk so there might be a few ropes across to stop access to delicate areas that are being worked on. We also need some large carpet squares that we will use upside down to protect the vinyl when we start work.

On a sadder note, the Trust wishes to pass on publicly its condolences to the family of Toni Taylor who passed away recently. It was Toni’s wish that the family Bach number 38 be made available to the Trust as our headquarters and her family has endorsed that request. DoC has signalled that they also want for this to happen, so Toni’s legacy will remain on Rangitoto. Thank You Toni.

Selleys Ltd
Selleys Ltd have been extremely kind to us and have provided, much to Allan’s delight, a complete range of their extremely fine products. No hole will be left unfilled and no one will be without a paintbrush or roller! We thank them through this newsletter and ask our members to consider buying Selleys products when they are next doing renovations of their own house or Bach.

More discussions have been held with DoC about what we can and can’t achieve under our permit application and what needs to left for a full concession. We are extremely happy to report that significant progress has been made particularly in our need for access, storage and overnight accommodation in the Islington Bay area. With the restoration of 114 coming online these were major stumbling blocks. It is now up to the Trust to put all the words together and get the final document in. Your committee would like to thank Sarah MacCready for all her time and effort as go-between.

Huia Lodge
AMP and the Trust are planning to have another display at Huia Lodge in Cornwall Park in June this year. AMP have some wonderful photos taken over the New Year period (if you look on our website you will find a few of them) and we will display these along with a photo montage of the restoration of Bach 38. We will also have lockable space to show small artefacts from our archive and any one wishing to loan for display items of interest it would be greatly appreciated. Also newly discovered photos that we have in our archive will be properly mounted and if you have any others of interest that you can loan for the month of June please call Elizabeth or Susan.
Last time the display received a large number of appreciative visitors and we hope that this time will be the same again. It will also be a great opportunity to showcase AMP as our sponsor.

Argentine Ant
Contrary to the notices that were placed at baches and in letters received, the Argentine Ant has not been found on Rangitoto Island. The insect in question is similar but is actually a native ant.

Recent Publicity
Over the last couple of months the Trust has received quite a bit of publicity. Some has been of a positive nature, some hasn’t.
The recent article in the Sunday Star Times is a case in point. Originally meant to be a piece on bureaucracy in Auckland, the angle taken at time of print made out that the Trust was at odds with the Department of Conservation. This couldn’t have been further from the truth and the Trustees regret that the article provided that avenue of conjecture.
In contrast a wonderful article in the latest NZ Architecture magazine is a delight to read. Please try to find a copy in your local library and take time to read it. An article in Forest and Bird magazine also has a point to make but unfortunately has a few facts in error but this also is a good read. NZ Geographic was unable to print their hard work before the magazine folded.
And only a few weeks back the NZ Herald had a story on the removal of baches and huts from public land. This resulted in a quite a bit of talkback commentary and a reply in a later Herald. This story resulted from the Draft General Policy Conservation Act and Related Legislation discussion document put out by the department in August 2003. Submissions closed on that document before Xmas. Your Trustees did read through the paper and felt there was nothing untoward and that the aims and objectives of the Trust were able to be met within the suggested policy.
As with the discussion document on Visitor Facilities in the Hauraki Gulf mentioned in the last newsletter, all these policies, timelines and submission forms are available on the Department of Conservation website It pays to visit this website and look at what is being proposed. Your Trustees put in a submission on visitor facilities that affected Rangitoto Island and we look forward to expanding our views at any public meeting.

Rangitoto Wharf Upgrade
Rangitoto Wharf is no longer able to provide a suitable platform for the type of ferry, number of visitors and activities that are being looked at in the future. The ferry providers are having difficulty with access at low tide, larger ferries with more people are proposed requiring a better system of boarding particularly for prams and wheelchairs and consideration needs to be given to how materials and supplies are handled at the wharf.
All this will have an impact on Rangitoto Island, the biggest being how large and imposing the modified wharf will need to be to accommodate everyone’s wishes. The Trust is very interested and will respond constructively to the proposals being made with particular regard to the historic nature of the original wharf and the area the wharf abuts. There may be other solutions such as upgrading Yankee Wharf and reinstating Home Bay Wharf on Motutapu Island. The timeframe for discussion is quite short, we will keep you informed.

AGM – The AGM for 2003/2004 will be in July at the Marine Rescue Centre. There will be one more members meeting with a speaker before that date and (hopefully) two more newsletters.

Fishing Competition Results
Children: I don’t know their names but they each received $5 for their catch.
Adults: Biggest fish - Allan Godsall, Largest snapper – Allan Godsall, Most fish - Allan Godsall and Booby prize (toilet seat) – no it wasn’t Allan Godsall it was Alan Collins for catching a horse mussel. I am assured the competition and results weren’t rigged; it’s all that spare time Allan has now he is retired! Again the Motutapu lads provided an animal for the spit and a great time was had after the judging. According to the rules of the competition all the fish were auctioned and that raised $28, with some of the visitors waiting for the ferry back home bidding as well!

Remember to look at our wonderful website on a regular basis. Andy is always updating it – check out the additions to the photo gallery. Next will be a sponsor’s page where we can properly thank those companies and individuals that help make things happen for the Trust.
There are links to other website that are useful and places to submit your own stories and comments. Please take the time to have a look.
Should you rather view the latest newsletter on the website and not receive it by post please let Shirley know.

Heritage pages
The editor ran out of time for this edition so here is a taster of what is proposed for the next issue:
The next the topic will be “The Art of Communication - Rangitoto Style”
Anyone who is able to provide some anecdotal stories about the phone box and post office era please email them to Elizabeth

YOUR COMMITTEE – Don’t hesitate to ring any of them if you have any questions, need brochures etc.

Elizabeth Andrew – 634 1398 Newsletters,
Shirley Collins - 279 9819 Treasurer, Membership and Wharf rep,
Susan Yoffe – 445 1894 Archives,
Hilary Noall – 418 4920 Islington Bay rep,
Lois Eagles – 480 5989 Beacon End rep,
Allan Godsall – 634 0161 Maintenance,
John Walsh – 811 8875 Chairman,
Jim Mason – 446 6228 Patron.