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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 TrustMedia Release

Wednesday 1st October 2003

Heritage Conservation Funding Announced

The Rangitoto Island Historic Conservation Trust is proud to announce a major sponsoring partnership between the Trust, AMP and the New Zealand National Parks and Conservation Foundation.

The Trust was established seven years ago to maintain and preserve the remaining baches on Rangitoto Island, to establish an oral history and photographic archive and to find ways to make the restored baches available for public use. Over the past years we have worked with the Department of Conservation, the New Zealand Historic Places Trust, Auckland Regional Council and Auckland City to establish the national significance of the bach communities on Rangitoto Island.

The sponsorship with AMP Financial Services is a logical partnership as AMP's brand values around protecting assets matched that of the Trust and the Foundation. The sponsorship crystallises the tremendous amount of work the Trust has already completed and lets the Trust work towards its future objectives in particular the restoration process.

The sponsorship negotiated on our behalf by the New Zealand National Parks and Conservation Foundation Executive Director, Jocelyn Watkin, will enable the restoration of three baches over the next three years. The sponsorship will also allow the Trust to improve access to its archive through a new website and education pages with further archival research.

More than 150 years ago AMP travelled to New Zealand from Australia with its first customer. In the intervening years AMP has built a business and reputation on helping New Zealanders build their wealth and protect their assets. Announcing the sponsorship Ross Kent Managing Director of AMP Financial Services in New Zealand said the partnership with the Trust and the Foundation is an opportunity for AMP to make a contribution to the heritage of Auckland. "AMP has a strong history of community involvement in New Zealand. We see this sponsorship as another way of helping the community protect its historical assets."

Ordinary New Zealanders built the bach communities on Rangitoto Island during the 1920's and 30's. Other bach communities once prevalent throughout the country have largely given way to holiday home developments. The remaining baches not only encapsulate Aucklands development of that time but are also irreplaceable artefacts of New Zealand's architectural and social history.

It is never easy to raise funds for large projects such as this. The Trust has always recognised that the baches are unique for their architectural "window in time" moment but believe that the opportunity to make them available to the public for the traditional kiwi bach holiday of lamplight, long drops and tank water is equally important. Trust Chairman, Elizabeth Andrew, says "AMP's sponsorship and belief in the Trust's ability to make the project work is a shot-in-the-arm for the Trust. It will enable us to move forward with confidence over the next few years to fulfil the dream of many of the leaseholders who have had to give up their precious family bach." As the late Mame Watson a long time lessee said - "I feel it has been a great privilege for us to have been on that island. I really feel that way because we all love the island."

The Trust is also looking forward to working with the New Zealand National Parks and Conservation Foundation and continuing its partnership with the Department of Conservation. Depart of Conservation conservator, ROb McCallum, commended the partnership between AMP, The New Zealand National Parks Conservation Foundation and the Rangitoto Island Historic Conservation Trust. It's great to see sponsorship of this project to conserve some of the Rangitoto baches and tell he history of the bach communities so the public can enjoy this part of Auckland's heritage in the future. The department is supportive of the Rangitoto Island Historic Conservation Trust's work on the island.

Elizabeth Andrew
Trustee Chairman
Ph: (09) 634 1398
Fax: (09) 634 1344
Mob: 025 737 055

Rangitoto Trust

Richard Gordon
Manager, Auckland Communications
Ph: (09) 523 7723
Fax: (09) 523 7701
Mob: 025 960 864

AMP FInancial Services

Jocelyn Watkin
Executive Director
Ph: (09) 269 2922
Fax: (09) 269 2923
Mob: 0274 939 851

NZ National Parks & Conservation