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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

December 2004

The last newsletter of the year, but better late than never!

Christmas Get Together
Wednesday 15th of December
Marine Rescue Centre
Mechanics Bay @ 7.30pm
A chance to get together, no speakers or elections, just a drink, a bite to eat and good conversation and memories
So come and celebrate with other members and visitors the culmination of an extremely busy year.
Please bring something special to eat.
Tea, Coffee and juice provided.

Last working bee for the year and BBQ Allan and his band of merry volunteers are invited to an end of working bee BBQ on the 11th of December 2004. Of course there will be a few final tidying up things to do - Quartermaster Allan is never satisfied - but the intention is to have a BBQ lunch. The weather has been ordered. Please contact Allan by email or phone (he now has a cellphone 027 309 1766) for further details on what to bring. If not enough people are interested it may be cancelled.

Working Bee Schedule for 2005 - no dates have yet been set.
This is because the majority of the working bees will be held at Islington Bay where we are starting work on Bach 114. Dates will require co-ordination with ferry timetables, on the island transport and the delivery of materials. Accommodation overnight for volunteers is also being arranged.

Look for any updates on the website - Allan and Andy have started new pages on progress of Bach 38 and 114 and are soon to include photos.

Maintenance Update Bach 38 is basically finished and ready for use by the Trust and our sponsor. Many many thanks must go to all our volunteers who have attended our weekend working bees and particular thanks also to the 'grey brigade' who go down on weekdays, and to the staff from Nestle New Zealand who were down recently and finished most of the exterior painting and gave the inside a final clean.

Visitor Facilities in the Hauraki Gulf - Recreation Opportunities Review
The results of this review have been published. Highlights for Rangitoto are the decision not to have the campground at Islington Bay in favour of one at Wreck Bay and the possible inclusion of mountain bikes (which was commented on in the NZ Herald). To see the full report on the submissions and decisions go to Recreation Opportunities Review/pdf/Auckland results.pdf

Ministry of Culture and Heritage brings you up to date with government announcements on programs for the provision and management of cultural resources such as the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, history awards and policy statements. Click through to Publications for annual reports, statistics and media releases. is the NZ Historic Places Trust website. It includes the register of historic places, new additions and what they are planning for their 50th anniversary next year.

Ferry timetables and ticket prices Before deciding to come to Rangitoto it is a good idea to check the ferry timetable. Fullers (367 9111) have a summer and winter timetable. Recently Kawau Kat cruises started a service to Rangitoto. Ring 0800 888 006 for further information (it doesn't stop at Devonport). Both service providers have made reductions in ticket prices recently so it pays to check.
All volunteers who come to our working bees receive a return ticket for their next visit courtesy of Fullers who provide us with discounted tickets and our sponsor AMP.

Annual Fishing Competition
Friday 31st December
Start Time: 10am sharp.
Finish Time: 12 noon sharp.
Tide: 1131 hrs. 3.0m
Judging: 12.30pm.
Auction: All fish will be auctioned. Visitors to Rangitoto got caught up in the excitement last year and bought the lot!!!!!!!!!
Rules: Two lines per person.
Fishing between Iliomana Light and Target Point only. If using a boat you must have appropriate lifejackets etc. (ARC bylaws apply). No undersized fish allowed.
Who: Members and families, invited guests, friends and especially children.
What to bring for afterwards: There will be a BBQ with meat provided for lunch, so bring you own accompaniments and drink.
Prizes: Best Story- Booby Prize; Largest Snapper- Buchanan Trophy; Longest Fish-Pennant; Most Fish- RICHT Trophy.
There will be something for the children too.
Getting there: Check with Fullers in case they have changed to their summer timetable or use the new Kawau Kat.
Aim: To have fun, do what we used to do, involve the children and meet each other.
Contact Allan Godsall for any further information. Please return all trophies.
Weather: The event will not be cancelled

Signs The Waiheke Community Board has given $500 towards the provision of signs on Rangitoto. The idea is to provide a sign in the vicinity of Bach 38 which shows the history of the baches with a track diagram of what visitors will see.

The Kiosk at Rangitoto WharfPost Offices on Rangitoto
In the last Heritage page on Communications I asked about the post offices on Rangitoto Island. I have received a very detailed account about this from Mr Trevor Bevan. Using research from Mr R Startups book on NZ Post Offices and other correspondence he was able to tell us the following:-
There were TWO post offices on Rangitoto, one at Islington Bay and the other at the Wharf. In fact Rangitoto Wharf started as a radiotelephone office in the island caretakers store with Reg Noble as the operator, when the cable was laid from Motutapu in 1937. This office closed on August 27 1939. Two date stamps were issued so it may have served as a post office as well. No documents or envelopes exist showing the first date stamp but the second is recorded on 25th November 1938 and is "Telephone Office Rangitoto".
On December 7th 1938 a post office opened at Islington Bay. It could not be called Islington Bay because that name was used in Christchurch so it was also named Rangitoto but the 2 added. It remained open until permanently closed on 21st August 1985. There were 4 date stamps issued with the earliest use known 29th February 1948 and the last 29th August 1982. There are no details about who ran the office.
The Rangitoto Wharf Post Office re-opened on 5th November 1952 and closed permanently on 19th May 1982 after the building was demolished. There were three date stamps issued with earliest found 26th April 1953 and the last 6th February 1980. There is a list of Postmaster appointments from late 1970 to closure but none before that time.
This is a shortened account of what Mr Bevan wrote. If you would like a full copy please ring Elizabeth.

Prison Camp The prison camp area has been looked at by DoC and it has been agreed that removal of weeds and small plants can take place before these become trees and start to break up the remaining walls and archaeological remains. We will be organising a working bee to do this in the near future.

YOUR COMMITTEE - Don't hesitate to ring any of them if you have any questions.

Elizabeth Andrew - 634 1398 Newsletters,
Shirley Collins - 279 9819 Treasurer,
Membership and Wharf rep,
Susan Yoffe - 445 1894 Archives,
Hilary Noall - ph not available Islington Bay rep,
Lois Eagles - 443 5536 Beacon End rep,
Allan Godsall - 634 0161 Maintenance,
John Walsh - 811 8875 Chairman,
Jim Mason - 446 6228 Patron.

Website: We get a lot of very favourable comments about our website, all due to the excellent work of Andy Heyward. He is always looking for more photos and stories. Send them direct to Andy for inclusion on the website.

Wishing all our Members a Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.