Click to return home

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.

Become a fan Bookmark and Share

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 -

line break

Latest Additions

Education Pages

New content added to the education pages here>>

line break

Rangitoto Scouts

Photos of the Scout Camps in the 1930s, 1948 and 1951 here>>

line break

Rangitoto Wrecks

Photos of the wrecks here>>

line break

Rangitoto Ramblings

The latest newsletter is available here>>

line break


Gareth Cooke Photos

Gareth has taken a series of photos of the Rangitoto Baches and wrecks view his online gallery here>>

line break

From the TVNZ Archives

A Summer Place

line break

Photos of Rangitoto Island submitted by the public on Flickr are here>>

line break

Rangitoto Island Biosecurity Standards. Find out what you need to know here>>

line break

The Environmental Care Code and Water Care Code can be found here>>

line break

New photos have been added to the galleries here>>

line break

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>>

line break



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

line break


Heritage Notes
Restoration / #38 / #114
Membership / How to join
Submit / Stories & Photos
Bach 38 / Open Day Images

line break

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)

Museum and Archive Annual Report 2010


We ran the Bach Tours for North Shore Heritage Week and Auckland Heritage Festival in September and October 2009 and the two weekends in February and March this year. The scone with tea is proving very popular and we have got a good routine for organising it. New World Devonport is generous in supporting us with discount on the scones and supplying the jam, tea and coffee free. For the summer tours we introduced a booking system and restricted the numbers to twenty participants with a child or two added on. This works out well as people can keep together and hear the guide. Also if the weather is not favourable serving tea to more than twenty in the bach is rather confusing. In the summer we set the chairs outside and people stay on chatting – almost like old friends.

Museum report photo 09

Figure 1: Heritage Week 2009

For the forthcoming Heritage Festival season we are doing tours on five successive Sundays from 4 September to 3 October 2010. Fullers have organised an internet booking system that will take payment for the reduced ferry fare and the tour. Life will be much easier. The baches and their story is becoming a popular item on the conference agenda too. We have hosted several groups and DoC likes to showcase us. Talks: several bowling clubs, Probus and Takapuna Rotary.


The sale items have been a great success this summer: - tea cosies, milk jug covers, Rangitoto models, postcards and water. We now have a concession with DoC which allows us to do this legitimately. Not to forget the Auckland Botanical Society's fantastic book. We have also had requests to host painters who have done images of baches. Ian Cheeseman came one Saturday with his work that was displayed in the courtyard. Sale of appropriate items adds to our coffers and creates interest, but we are cautious against having a 'shop'.

Museum report photo 10

Figure 2: Tea Cosies are a popular item for sale

Bach 38 Museum

We were lucky enough to recruit four new volunteers in November. Our objective is to have the bach open at least one day every weekend and holidays from Labour Day to Easter. We did very well this year and I think we could claim a 75% success rate. Some volunteers offer the visitor 'tea and gingernuts' for a donation. A big Thank You to our volunteers.


Yes, plural. Two videos have been made of the work of Rangitoto Island Historic Conservation Trust this year. Kylie Newman doing her Bachelor of Communication specialising in Video did a 10 minute one about the Trusts' work. Hopefully you will see it at the AGM


Sandy, the black back gull watcher stayed again last year. And we have had our first 'artist in residence'. Tui Mamaku – a singer songwriter stayed 3 days in May.

Plaque Project

The empty sites along the path draw a lot of questions. It has been my idea to erect a small interpretation plaque at these sites with photos a short history. The Arrowsmith family had one made for their grandmother's bach last year. I put a proposal to DoC and got approval and commitment to do the artwork and erection. Three quotes from engravers were obtained. I wrote short histories from the oral histories I have collected over the years and photo selected from various collections. Application to the Environment Initiatives Fund by ARC has been successful. And so we intend to have ten plaques in place before the summer. Now that the groundwork has been done it will not be difficult to organise plaques for existing baches – at owners cost. To be consistent the plaques will have the same layout and artwork as those already approved by DoC.

Museum report photo 09

Figure 3: Example of suggested plaques


Our records are continually being added to. With the assistance of our volunteer Savita, the archives were sorted, rationalised and each box contents summarised and recorded.


Museum report [pdf] 577kb