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)

Rangitoto Island Historic Conservation Trust

November 2000

Time flies and it is nearly the end of the year! Your Trustees have been quietly busy with matters of business for the Trust and extremely busy with their own lives. So read on and find out all the news!

BROCHURE: Enclosed are two copies of our brochure printed using the grant from Vision Hauraki, the brochure has been designed with three purposes in mind, for tourists who travel to Rangitoto, for education e.g. talks and most important for the Trust to increase membership and obtain donations. So, please find at least one new member using the brochures we have sent you and for those who find they are in need of more phone Shirley (279 9819) who will send out extra copies. We can't emphasise enough how important it is to get more members. I would like to thank the Printing Department of AUT for kindly doing the job for us in-house; it enabled us to have over 20,000 printed!

MISSING: The records of the Islington Bay Bowling Club were brought to the AGM in a little school suitcase. Someone borrowed it and we can't remember whom. Please have a look under your bed!

MEASURING UP: The Auckland Branch of the Historic Places Trust has made an offer to have baches measured, resulting in technical drawings and elevations of each bach. Arrangements have been made with the Auckland School of Architecture under the supervision of Professor Peter Sheppard for selected second year students to undertake this work during their summer break for course credit. The students will work in pairs and it is estimated that they will need four to five hours per bach. Access to the baches will be arranged at times convenient to owners. At the moment there are four eager students who want to do two to three baches each. Susan has volunteered to co-ordinate the project by briefing the students, setting guidelines and putting students in contact with owners. Please contact Susan (ph 445 1894) if you would like to participate or would like further information. The record made will be an invaluable resource for the Trust and for future reference.

AWARD: The New Zealand Trustees Association have awarded the Rangitoto Island Historic Conservation Trust their annual award for 'Trust of the Year'. A large cup and plaque has been presented to us and we are very proud to have won it. It is in recognition of all the good work we have accomplished so far and it will help immeasurably in future for obtaining sponsorship, grants and funding.

NUMBER ONE BEST SELLER: The Anthropology Department of Auckland University has published Susan's thesis "Holiday Communities on Rangitoto Island" as part of a series called Readings in Anthropology and Linguistics. It is available from the Anthropology Department Secretary, Joan Coburn, phone 373 7599 ext 8535 or Private Bag 92 019 Auckland at a cost of $20. Normally theses have a reputation for being good doorstops or very dry reading but this one is full of interesting photos and stories and is a very enjoyable read.

ANY OLD STOVES: A new member approached us with an interesting offer. Alison Kenyon is an expert on old coal cooking ranges having had her own manufacturing and repair business. She would be able to give you a good idea on the cost of repairs and availability of parts etc. If you would like Alison to make an appraisal, ring Elizabeth (634 1398) for more details.

A HAPPY SCRAPPY REQUIRED: The Trust now has a significant number of articles, pictures magazine and newspaper clippings. We need somebody who would collate them all into a simple filing system similar to a children's scrapbook. The initial task would take some time, but after that it would be a simple matter. If you can help please ring Susan.

ANY OLD ANYTHING? Kristin Brown is a university student doing her final year in Visual Arts. Interested in the baches on Rangitoto, because she stayed there as a child, she has asked for material that she can use as references for her paintings for her exhibition. She is looking for pieces of old lino, curtains, wallpaper, colour swatches and designs, so if you are having a clean up, pop some of them into an envelope and post them to her at 18 Hauana Street, Devonport.

PROJECT TIME: We are in final preparations (doing the paperwork) so that weatherproofing and restoration of the outside of Bach 78 (Arrowsmiths) can be done. All being well, this very important project will be completed by Xmas. Sponsorship has been found as well as a group of enthusiastic volunteers, however there is always room for more helpers. If you are interested in getting involved ring Alan Godsall (634 0161) for details.

We still need a sponsor for Bach 114 (Turners) before we can make a start, so canvas companies, groups or organisations and let your Trustees know if you have any ideas that we can follow up. This is an important exercise for the Trust, if we can restore the outside of these two baches without resorting to help from the Department of Conservation or applying to Lotteries or similar, we can use these examples when applying for future funding.

A VIEW FROM THE AIR: At our next meeting there will be an opportunity to peruse aerial photos of Rangitoto Island from the years 1936 onwards. Islington Bay, Beacon End/Mackenzie's, Rangitoto Wharf and CMS base are included.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST - OUR NEXT MEETING: Alan La Roche, the man behind Howick Historical Village, will be giving us a guided tour around the village. He will show us how he has restored buildings, scrounged things, made do etc, which will help us immensely when it comes to restoring baches. Alan is keenly interested in our work. Details are: - Saturday 18th November 2000. Howick Historical Village, Bells Road (off Pakuranga Road) Pakuranga at 1.00pm General Meeting in the Schoolroom at 2.30pm to transact any business. There is an entry fee of $7. Why not bring a picnic lunch and make a day of it? If you need transport please ring. See you there!

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