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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)

About the Trust.

Rangitoto Island Historic Conservation Trust

Milestones and Achievements to date:

Formation of the Trust in July 1997.

Writing of a Business and Development Plan in October 1998.

Signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Conservation in August 1999.

Received Trust of the Year Award from the New Zealand Trustees Association for 2000.

Publication of a brochure on the Historic Baches using a grant from the Hauraki Gulf Charitable Trust.

Professional documentation of the Bach Communities and development of a research archive including over 50 oral histories and 300 photographs. Supported by grants from the Lottery Grants Board - Heritage

Public display of research material, articles, books and memorabilia celebrating the Bach Communities at Huia Lodge in May 2001 (Extended viewing due to public interest). Another display is planned for North Shore City in November 2001.

Provision of speakers to interest groups and schools, demand for which is increasing.

Sponsorship by the New Zealand Maritime Museum to undertake the restoration of two baches at Islington Bay using their own personnel- the first on is already underway.

The start of restoration of a bach at Rangitoto Wharf by the Trust using Trust volunteers and donated materials - aim to weatherproof the bach by the end of Summer 2001. The Bach was given to the Trust by the Leaseholder for use as its headquarters for further restoration work.

Resolution of conflict between leaseholders and the Department of Conservation and community consensus in support of the Trust's plans for the Bach Communities.

Steady increase in membership that includes the general public and visitors to New Zealand.

Planning currently underway for an inorganic clean up of both Rangitoto and Motutapu Islands in February 2002 - in excess of 35 tonnes of iron and other hazardous waste is to be removed using volunteer labour of which 80% is to be re-cycled.

Immediate Goals 2001 -2005:

Successful completion of the in-organic cleanup in February 2002, 30 tonnes of rubbish including 2.79 tonnes of glass removed over a two-week period.

Weatherproofing of Bach at Rangitoto Wharf completed and funding for interior/remainder of exterior applied for with full restoration completed by Summer 2002. Exterior weatherproofing completed April 2003. Interior as funding allows.

Development of Interactive Website - initial website available in June 2002 at Applications for funding to develop the website further in 2003.

Website now at

Strategic Planning Session with Heads of Department e.g. DoC, Trustee's and community members to facilitate final planned usage for the bach communities. First meeting held June 2002 - requested to apply for a five year permit.

Up skill Board of Trustees - computer programs for Power Point presentations etc, business planning and funding applications to corporate sponsors etc.

Increased public support and awareness of the Trust activities.

Self Sufficiency usage and maintenance pilot model developed and tested.

Funding for restoration of the remainder of the Bach Communities is investigated with the view to a long-term strategic approach.

Permits required by the Trust to implement business and development plan granted by the Department of Conservation.

Set in motion the Concession process by consulting with the Tangata Whenua with regard to the Treaty of Waitangi and Rangitoto Island.

Long Term Plans 2005 - 2015:

Funding for the restoration of the Bach Communities is in place.

Concession process is completed and concession for the management of the Bach Communities has been granted to the Trust.

Long term self sufficiency usage plan developed and implemented.

Further research and documentation of Rangitoto Island post WW2 and the prison camp.

Creation of a living museum including self guided walks.

Publication of a book on the History of the Rangitoto Bach Communities.

Ongoing website development.

Evaluation process developed and implemented.

Support Required:

Significant long term financial support

In kind advisory assistance for strategy, networking, planning, promotion and implementation.