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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/August 2005


This is the FIRST newsletter of the year, so you haven't missed one. The editor has been busy so this is a CELEBRATORY issue. It includes the Notice of Meeting for the 2005 AGM.

Happenings since Xmas:-

Bach 38
- See the special celebration pages included with your newsletter. We would like to thank all those people and organisations that helped us make it a special day. And especially AMP Financial Services for being our sponsor.

Auckland Museum
- Celebrated the New Zealand House in Models for Living 1905 - 2005 which included Stephen Brookbanks models of Rangitoto Baches - they looked fabulous.

Auckland Theatre Company
- Had another sell-out season of the play The Bach. Photos and memories from our archives went into the souvenir program.

Motu Kaikoura Trust
- This Trust will look after Kaikoura Island off Great Barrier Island. Our Trustees went on the trip for the official opening. We wish this Trust all the best for its future endeavours.

Current Happenings:-

- 10th August 2005. See notice with this newsletter. Apologies for the shorter than usual notice.

Conservation Week 1 - 7 August.
- "Everything is Connected - Te katoa o nga mea tukupu e mau hono takapari ana". Conservation Week activities will highlight the work needed to ensure the ongoing survival of our native species and conservation places and also celebrate our unique natural and human history. Further details

50yr Anniversary NZHPT
- The Winter 2005 New Zealand Heritage magazine is available in all bookshops. It is the commemorative issue covering the five decades of the NZHPT existence with beautiful photos and accompanying articles. There is a calendar of events throughout NZ inside also. Look on for further details.

The Auckland Branch of NZHPT latest newsletter also featured our Bach 38 celebration;

Look out for:-

Year of the Built Environment.
- There are number of activities and celebrations during the year around this event. Keep an eye on the Ministry for the Environment and Auckland Regional Council websites for the calendar of events.

Heritage Week.
- Auckland City will again be hosting Heritage Week after the success of the one in 2004. This year it is the 12th to 18th September. The Trust will have Bach 38 open on a daily basis and there will be an opportunity for a guided tour for interested groups on the Wednesday. Look out in the City Scene closer to the time, the Auckland city website and out own website for further details closer to the time.

Working Bees
- Over winter the working bees are on hold until the weather improves then the normal pattern will commence. Don't forget all those who attend a working bee get a free return ticket to the island. If you contact Alan (634 0161 or to say you are interested in attending he will get back to you when they re-start. They are usually the 1st and 3rd weekends of the month.

Maintenance Corner with Allan
- Allan and his band of merry volunteers have not stopped since finishing Bach 38 and waiting for the weather and transport before starting on Bach 114 they have been working on the Prison Camp. It has been very hot, dirty and dusty work. Bottled water donated by Metrowater has helped stave off dehydration - but it is still no walk in the park. But the change has been enormous with outlines of the original walls now visible.

We still have the grant from the Waiheke Community Board to use and this will be spent on signage for the prison camp. We are still looking for more photos of that period to make an interesting and educational display board. Look for temporary signs during Heritage Week.

Our volunteers have also undergone some 4WD training so that they can drive the DoC vehicles on Rangitoto. They all passed the 2 day course and their certificates will be presented at the AGM. Well done everyone.

Now we have a building that is finished we need to set up a cyclical maintenance regime. Alan has an outline of the scope of work required and is looking for people to visit Bach 38 on a regular basis to check the schedule and initiate any R & M required. Please offer before Alan taps you on the shoulder. If more than one person helps, the schedule can be split up making it much less onerous.

In Memory of Lennie Sullivan
- One of the Trust's most stalwart supporters Lennie passed away on the 31st March. A moments silence was taken at the opening of Bach 38 in her memory. Lennie had worked very hard to fulfil the Trust dream of its completion only to just miss its culmination. All our thoughts are with Allan, Ann and Suzie. She is sincerely missed by those who knew her and worked with her.

- Susan received a small grant to research the post WW11 period. She would like to be in contact with people who were on the island in the 50's, 60's and 70's who have not already been interviewed. She is looking for photos and oral histories. Don't forget that our archives are available to anyone doing research. Contact Susan in the first instance and she will inform you of the copyright obligations etc.

In mid March two paper conservators from Auckland City Art Gallery spent the weekend repairing the damaged wallpaper over the fireplace in Bach 38. A leak in the roof had led to water coming in and causing the paper to curl and come away from the wall. The underlying wallpapers and patterns were tantalising visible and we wanted to have those old papers displayed. After removing the damaged portions, an area of each pattern was exposed. The brown, turquoise, white and red leaf pattern was the original put up in 1928. It was followed some time later by the autumn leaf pattern. The next paper was the choice of the next owner Mr Biddulph. His daughter Fay remembers helping her father put up the leaf frieze, probably in the mid 1940's. A surprise and puzzling find was another frieze underneath the leaf one. It took two days of painstaking and precise work by Camilla and Ute and the results are wonderful.

STOP PRESS - Camilla will be our guest speaker at the AGM

Look out for the September issue of On Holiday magazine for a wonderful article on the baches.

Don't forget our website - there is a link to the ARC pages on the shipwrecks on Rangitoto. Our website is updated regularly and all newsletters are available from there.


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,
Jim Mason - 446 6228 Patron.