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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

July 2001

Accompanying this newsletter you will find the Notice of Meeting for this years AGM, the minutes of last years AGM and nomination forms

NOTE: The AGM for 2001 is being held on Tuesday the 31st of July at 7.30pm at the Marine Rescue Centre. Please come, these meetings are important for several reasons - it is a chance to have your say in the running of the Trust, it is a good time to meet people who have the same interest as you and we have an excellent speaker lined up.

Judy Hanbury is a Trustee for the Little Barrier Island (Hauturu) Supporters Trust and she has agreed to come and talk to us about what they do. Did you know that a DoC ranger lives on the island and no one else does and that you need a permit to visit the island? Judy is a very good speaker so come and hear Judy and have a bit of supper with friends.

If you would like to come but require transport ring one of the people listed at the end of the newsletter to arrange a lift.

Newsletter: Do you still want to receive our newsletter? If you don't please give Shirley a ring and she will take you name off the mailing list. This does not mean you cease to be a member - you are still important to us. Likewise if you have moved or wish to have your newsletter sent somewhere else please let Shirley know. The Trustees will be looking at the newsletter to evaluate how we can make it more interesting, cost effective and more frequent and possibly recoup some of the costs of printing. If you have any ideas or articles for inclusion please let Elizabeth know.

White Tail Spider: The above-mentioned spider is alive and well on Rangitoto Island as Lois Eagles can attest. Lois was bitten late last year and ended up in hospital after suffering a reaction to the bite. Still on medication she would like you to keep a wary look out for this not very welcome Australian visitor. Apparently they move very fast, rear up and spit and prey on other spiders' webs. They love hiding in beds and clothes and are very aggressive. This is an Australian white tail spider. Like most spiders it has eight legs although this chap lost one along the way. Note the distinctive white mark on its tail. They are found throughout Auckland.

Rangitoto Brass Band: The photo of the Islington Bay Brass Band, which we used in our brochure, was spotted by a brass band aficionado and will have honourable mention in the NZ Brass Band Associations next publication!

Video, Film and TV: At the recent display we held at Cornwall Park we played a short video that was made by a film student. The only copies that are available belong to the people who took part and a copy that the Trust was given. A lot of interest was expressed in buying the video, however the issue of copyright means that we just cannot copy our copy. To do it properly is an expensive exercise and at this time we are not pursuing the matter. However if you are interested in obtaining a copy please add your name to the list that Susan is keeping and when we have sufficient numbers we will look at it again.

Susan's thesis is available again; give her a ring if you would like to purchase a copy. We have also been approached to provide factual detail for a film that is currently looking for funding and that hopefully will be made in the future. It is a love story with Rangitoto Island and the baches as its backdrop.

Did everyone see the TV1 documentary "Getting Away From It All"? Highlighting different NZ families' ideas of a holiday it showed a well-known Rangitoto bach and its family. It was very interesting viewing about how far we have 'progressed' and what other people do. It illustrated that what the Trust is doing is very important, as Rangitoto's holiday lifestyle inexorably disappears from New Zealand's way of life.

Display: There will be another display of photos, articles, memorabilia etc by the Trust at Takapuna Library from the last week of November through December. More details to follow at a later date.

Articles of Interest: Every so often in her quest for more Susan comes across interesting archives - here are three such excerpts: - Susan writes; this could have been written today, in fact it is part of a letter written to the Star when the debate over the baches was raging in the Auckland newspapers.

Allow me to tell you that unless you have stayed overnight on the island after the last boat has gone one does not realise the beauties of Rangitoto - the sunsets and sunrises viewed from the waterfront, the full moon rising over Browns Island like a burnished copper disc, and later its silvery pathway and black and white patchwork to say nothing of the city's myriad lights reflected in the rippled tide, each of which reaches its shores. Letter to Star 10 April 1935

A Threatened Sanctuary. The position is grave. If Auckland allows Rangitoto to become a seaside resort, and in consequence lose some of its special features, it will deserve the severest censure of the scientific and aesthetic world. We shall be called a community of soulless philistines, and we shall have no reply. We shall have inherited a magnificent estate and squandered it ignobly. The degradation of Rangitoto, however, is not only important in itself. It is symbolical of a deadly sin that threatens this country - the sin of indifference to the unique beauty and interest of the New Zealand landscape. Excerpt from article in Star 6th April 1935.

Bellbirds on Rangitoto The musical notes of the bellbird will soon be heard among the pohutukawas on Rangitoto volcanic cone. This addition to the attractions of a remarkable island is to be made as a result of an offer by Mr. A. T. Pycroft to the Rangitoto Domain Board....This suggestion, which coincided with opinions expressed by members of the board that it was their duty not only to preserve the island as a botanical wonder ground, but to make it as attractive as possible to all lovers of Nature in every possible way - even to the protection of the opossums and wallabies. Mr. Pycroft was thanked and asked to obtain and liberate the bellbirds on the island as soon as possible. Has anyone heard a bellbird on Rangitoto?

Progress: Recently the Department of Conservation commissioned Dave Pearson Architects to do a Conservation Plan for Bach 38. The family has made this bach available for use by the Trust and the DoC is keen for us to start restoration as soon as possible. The bach was recently cleaned out of old bedding etc and a list of items made that are being stored until the bach is restored. Unfortunately the bach is suffering at the hands of the weather and is in dire need of a new roof and all that that entails. Initial applications for funding are being made, as are approaches to roofing merchants. As members you can be of great assistance if you were able to donate money or items towards the list of things we need or put us in contact with others that can help. We would like to have the majority of the work done by Xmas. Please ring Alan if you can help.

Work on the two baches by the Maritime Trust at Islington Bay continues slowly - the weather and the bees being the hold up at this time.

Next Meeting: To be held at Ryder's Museum on the 11th of September at 6.30pm. This night out will consist of dinner and a movie. See attached sheet or ring Jim for details.

Contact Phone Numbers: Jim - 4466228, Elizabeth - 6341398, Shirley - 2799819, Susan - 4451894, Hilary - 4184920, Lois - 4805989, John - 8118875, Allan - 6340131