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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 1999

Hello Members, Please accept my sincere apologies for the lack of a meeting in October, followed by November and December. Circumstances overtook the family and I only now been able to raise my head above water. With Susan being away and Brian unable to take up trusteeship or offer any time several projects had to take a back seat.

New Zealand Memories. Thank you very much to Lois, Hilary and Andrea who spent time putting together recollections and photos for the article. All of it was submitted to the editor who did a final cut and paste. The article appeared in the October/November issue, it looked and read very well. We received $60 for submitting the article.

Brochure. This project went on hold, as we were unable to extract all the photos and stories from the boards held at Auckland City. The money is still in the account and we will be looking for someone to put a brochure together when the boards become available in the New Year. It has also become apparent that schools would also appreciate a resource kit for when they visit Rangitoto. Suggestion on how this could be done would be appreciated.

New Conservation Minister. With the election of the new government we also have a new Conservation Minister - Sandra Lee. The general feeling is she will not be in favour of retaining the baches on Rangitoto. So one of the first jobs for the Trustees to do will be to write a letter outlining the positive aspects of the baches and how far the Trust has come, in particular with DoC and the Conservation Board. I have been reminded that the Ministerial Directive for demolishing the baches is still operational, but the conservancy is loath to act upon it.

Auckland Conservation Board. The board held a meeting in early December which Susan and I attended. It was an interesting meeting because for the first time all volunteer groups from the Hauraki Gulf were present - Motutapu, Little Barrier, Tiritiri, Stony Batter etc. It was a welcome opportunity to meet and find out what the other groups were up to - this conversation inevitably turned to weed eradication, however two other initiatives emerged.

A group called Conservation Volunteers has been suggested, so that when a group has a particular project to do, these volunteers can be enlisted to help. At this stage this would have little use for us, as we need conservation builders and scroungers more than tree planters and weeders but in the future the group could be very handy.

Secondly it was suggested that a Conservation Forum (or similar name) be set up, so that groups could obtain advice for such things as funding, concession applications, and documentation from people who have been there before and hopefully stop you having to start and head off in the wrong direction. This would be very helpful to a group like ourselves who are just finding our way.

The Auckland Conservation Board continue to be very supportive and one of the members Alan La Roche - who set up the Howick Historical Village, is very keen to find out more of what we are doing. He is also a mine of information and an excellent scrounger.

Auckland City/DoC/ RIHCT. We will be asking for a meeting of all three parties early in the New Year. Auckland City has just finished copying the boards for DoC and tabling George Farrants report. Both George and our Trustees believe this is make or break time, to set the scene for what happens in the future. We do not want DoC to arbitrarily pick baches that they think are suitable, but would rather they look at preserving the communities, as they exist in their current form. This would allow for flexibility and participation by leaseholder families in the discussion. Some families are still unsure of the future, others might never wish their Bach to be used by others and remove it. By giving some certainty to existing leaseholders they might consider it worthwhile to do some basic maintenance. If we can get DoC to agree - and first talks suggest that they will consider it, it will allow a good deal of flexibility in finding solutions and funding for what we want to achieve.

Fundraising. I apologise in not getting Alan's very worthy fundraising idea further than that, an idea. However we became aware of a Concession being offered for the setting up of the Kiosks on Rangitoto. The concession has been granted for the shops at both Islington and Rangitoto Wharf along with use of the Hall for a period of one year and I understand they are selling sausages etc. At this stage we don't know what is happening to the swimming pool other than a budget has been put forward for major repairs to the cracking on the swimming pool floor. Do not expect the pool to be open this summer.

Millennium Project. On hold at present until we know what the tri-party meeting comes to an agreement on. It is certainly not worth wasting our time and funds on something that might not be there - hopefully that will not be the case. But the Millennium lasts all year and there will be ample opportunity to do something before years ends. By that time funding might also have loosened up after the America's Cup has finished.

Xmas and New Year. The Department would very much like to have people in baches during this time, to act as look outs for fire, dogs and other irresponsible behaviour. If you see anything-untoward happening on or to the island don't hesitate to contact Phillip (Ph.372 2060). There will be extra staff on the island over the holiday period as they are very worried about what visitors might get up to during New Year celebrations and the America's Cup. The summit will be open on New Years Eve and you are encouraged to be there.

Member Notices Our sincere condolences to the Diamond and Linden families on the passing away of Charlie Linden. Charlie will be missed by those who experienced 'life' on Rangitoto and by newer members who had a chance to hear some of his stories.

Also to the Sharp family, especially Margaret and Rob, who have made visiting hospital a family occurrence. We hope that you are recuperating well and will be able to visit Rangitoto in the near future.

Last but not least, have a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Century. See you all at the next Meeting in 2000.