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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


This is the second newsletter of the year. It includes the Notice of Meeting for the 2004 AGM.

AGM - 21st July 2004, 7.30pm,
Room 5, Marine Rescue Centre, Mechanics Bay Auckland.
Raffle on the night – bring your change!
Further details later in the newsletter.

Visit to North Head Tunnels - “Well worth it” said the brave number who attended. The re-enactment display was superb, the tunnels able to be explored, followed by a cup of tea, a bite to eat and a talk by Dave Veart, DoC’s wonderfully enthusiastic raconteur archaeologist and historian. A very enjoyable afternoon with many nostalgic memories.

Huia Lodge - A successful exhibition was held in the month of June at Cornwall Park. The highlight of the display was Stephen Brookbanks scale models of 8 baches. We have several new contacts from the exhibition that Susan will follow up

What: The Bach
Where and when: Herald Theatre, July 8 – August 8
The Bach written by Stephen Sinclair (the Bellbird and Ladies Night), performed by the Auckland Theatre Company with Peter Elliot and Jennifer Ward Leland is about a family’s Coromandel Bach, precious childhood memories and a public dunney – sound familiar? The season has almost sold out so if you are interested get in quick for tickets. AMP our sponsor has asked the Trust to provide archives and memorabilia for special night in association with the play.

Relationship building - Recently the Trust has been invited to several workshops run by the Auckland Regional Council and DoC. The first was an excellent day of practical experience and advice on how to mount museum type display for best effect and not much money or stress. The other was an evening on management and governance for Not for Profit groups (which we are) and the dreaded Charities Bill. It was interesting to compare notes with other groups and to see that our mission statement and goals are still very valid after 7 years of existence.

We really appreciate that chance to attend these types of workshops and we would like to offer our services or expertise to newer groups that are setting up. Further to this the Community relations section of DoC will start coming to our members meetings and committee meetings so that any hiccups or advice can be given or accessed quickly in the future. Your Trustees are looking forward to a continuing the very positive relationship with DoC.

2004 Working Bees

July 17th August 7th
August 21st September 4th
September 18th October 2nd
October 16th November 6th
November 20th December 4th

Please not that we are now having working bees on the first and third Saturdays of every month. Nothing is programmed for Labour weekend at this time. Occasionally an extra working bee will be scheduled for a weekday when we can get specific contractors down to the island. If you are interested in having reminders emailed to you contact Allan.

Maintenance Corner with Allan - At the beginning of June the thoughts were that Rangitoto would be too cold to have working bees but Bach 38 with its new roof, nearly completed paint job, new floor in the second bedroom, usable fireplace and operational windows is now snug and warm and an ideal place to have single day working bees. I made the mistake of cancelling a working bee on the advice received from Fullers – the weather forecast was so abominable that they didn’t think there would be any ferry sailings! How wrong could a man get – it was a beautiful day and volunteers did go down but I didn’t! So in future – NO WORKING BEE WILL BE CANCELLED. If when you get to the ferry terminal you find they are not sailing then you can safely assume there will be no working bee!

Since the last report we have completed the replacement of all rotten timbers, all the water supply and wastewater systems, completely re-wired the Bach and a new substation installed. By the way you need to check out the old substation it has been restored and remounted on the wall. Thank you to John White. The chimney has been checked; the ceiling holes filled in or made into inspection hatches, windows re-hinged and the centre bedroom floor sanded down. Scrapping and painting has now started in the kitchen and lounge ceiling. Carpet has been laid face down on the fragile vinyls and we await the report on how we will look after the important wallpapers.

The list I have written of jobs to be done is rapidly getting shorter – finish painting the exterior, finish the preparation of the kitchen, varnish the centre bedroom floor, finish preparation for shellacking the woodwork around windows and cabinetry, hang the newly made replacement front doors and finish the safety rails at the back door and modify the front door step.

The next major projects are to build an ablution block out the back to upgrade the old long drop toilet and to set up a solar powered 12 volt electrical system.

Matthew Alley has been contracted to work on some specific areas of the Bach that need his skills and he will be down at Rangitoto from the 7th to the 14th of August. Any volunteers who would like to spend a day helping Matthew please feel free to do so. You will need to take you own lunch etc. During this week we also hope to start some preparatory work on Bach 80 and 114 at Islington Bay. Our ultimate goal is to have Bach 38 all plumbed and electrically sound, freshly painted and curtained by October this year. All preparation work done and materials ordered for a start to working bees over the summer at Islington Bay. More of that in the next newsletter.

Needed are a set of bunks that can become single beds to use in the very back bedroom for the times when contractors need to stay the night. Does anyone have a spare (wooden or metal) set stuck away in a garage somewhere? We will arrange pick up.

Negotiations with Fullers Group Ltd have concluded with a special rate for ferry tickets for our active working bee volunteers. These are available only from Allan when he is on the island and are in response to the fact we are making Rangitoto Island a more interesting visitor destination.

Allan Godsall – Maintenance Committee
3 Kiekie Road, Mangere Bridge, Auckland or email

Thank you to Dulux Ltd - Dulux Limited has supplied us with 47lts of various paint products to use on our Bach restoration projects. We ask our members to consider buying Dulux products when they are next doing renovations of their own house or Bach.

Rangitoto Wharf Upgrade - As reported in the last newsletter and in 13th June edition of City Scene, Rangitoto Island is to get a new wharf. Quote - Island gets artistic landing: Rangitoto Island is to get a long-awaited new wharf in an ambitious joint project between DoC and Creative New Zealand. Auckland City and other stakeholders are being consulted on the new wharf, which is expected to be completed by mid-2006. DoC visitor programme manager Phillip MacDonald says’ “Rangitoto is on Auckland’s doorstep. Access to the island is important for the council because ratepayers use it as a recreational destination.” The wharf, which is to be funded by DoC, will be twice as long as the current wharf made of concrete and have a lifespan of about 100 years. Artist Caroline Robinson was selected to help design the wharf. Her concept reflects the wharfs role as a link between differing environments of the city and Rangitoto, and will be incorporated into the engineer’s design. The current wharf will remain in operation until the new one, which will be located beside it, is completed.

Composting Toilets - Long Drop toilets are no longer able to be used on Rangitoto Island, so when we restore baches we have to look at replacing the ‘hole’ but in a lot of cases keep the building. The solution for this appears to be to use a composting toilet system. Landcare Research have provided advice to help us choose the right system (their new building uses composting toilets for the top two floors). Auckland City and Regional Councils have both been asked whether a composting toilet is permissible and with certain ‘load’ restraints we should be able to successfully install, use and maintain composting toilets on Rangitoto Island. The website provides a full range of toilets, home built and commercial around the world including NZ. We think the KIWIBOG will suit our needs the best as long as careful use and management procedures are put into place.

That deals with the solids but what about the ‘grey waste’ or kitchen and shower water? This can also have adverse effects on the Rangitoto environment so the Trust is looking at using products available at ecostore a NZ company that specialise in chemical free, plant based renewable products e.g. biodegradable plastic bags and dish wash liquid. Other Bach owners might like to consider what is going down their sink wastes and look into changing their products as well. Can only be better for ‘good ole Rangi”.

Archives - Recently Hillary one our Trustees lost her aunt and more recently her mum. We send our sincere condolences to Hillary at this time. Hillary however has been charged with sorting out her aunt’s estate and this lady was an inveterate collector. She knew Rangitoto inside out through its rocks, mosses and ferns. She kept all sorts of old magazines and took copious notes on what she found. Hillary has passed a lot of this onto Susan along with THREE superb Bach chairs that will find pride of place in the veranda of Bach 114 when it is restored.
Other long time members have been going through their family photos and very kindly been scanning them for us to add to our archive. These are a real treasure, some of which were on display at our exhibition and many more will be shown in our upcoming newsletters and members nights so that we can put names to faces. Thank you Dawn and Sereena for doing this for us.

AGM - The AGM for 2003/2004 will be on 21st July at the Marine Rescue Centre, Mechanics Bay, Auckland at 7.30pm. Please if you are able bring a plate for supper or your choice of drink. Tea and coffee will be available.

The accounts for the 2003/2004 year are currently at the auditors and copies will be available on the night along with the minutes of the 2003 AGM and officers reports. It is too costly to mail out reports to all members but if you would like copies please contact Shirley and she will send them out.

We have asked Richard Gordon of AMP Financial Services our principal sponsor to talk to us after the formalities are over. Richard it the communications manager for AMP in Auckland and the Trust contact for the work we are doing as part of the sponsorship arrangement. We are grateful to have Richards expertise both during the sponsorship negotiations and afterwards and he has accepted a position of advisory Trustee on our Board. Please come and listen to Richard as he explains AMP's role in sponsoring the Trust and its work and what the future holds.

Election of Officers - Perhaps is good time to explain the structure of the Trust so that if new members are interested in taking a more active role they can see how it all works.

The Trust is a charitable trust that is governed by its Trustees who keep an eye on the work we are doing and make sure it does not go outside what it is able to do under the Trust Deed. The Trustees can appoint advisors like Richard and Jim who is our Patron and appoint or remove Trustees as necessary.

There is an executive council which is the actual working body of the Trust. It is responsible for the day to day management – memberships, accounts, newsletters, runs working bees etc. When we started out those positions were filled by the Trustees, now that we are growing in terms of what we are able to accomplish it would be nice if other members would consider filling some of these roles or in the case of a weeding program that is being promulgated come forward to form a new sub committee.

It is the positions on the executive council that are called for at the AGM. Please consider putting you names forward on the enclosed form if you are interested. We meet as a committee on a monthly basis and if the work is shared it is not an onerous task.

Prison Camp - The condition of the prison camp site has been bought to the attention of the Trust recently. It is felt that as a place of such importance to the island it is been left to disappear without proper acknowledgement. Dave Veart from DoC is interested to find out more about the prison camp and he will be at the AGM. We are asking that people look through their own photos and bring them to the AGM with their stories so that Dave can make a start of what needs to be done next. New photos that have become available and some of the stories will become the next heritage page in the next newsletter.


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 –443 5536 Beacon End rep,
Allan Godsall – 634 0161 Maintenance,
John Walsh – 811 8875 Chairman,
Jim Mason – 446 6228 Patron.