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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)

Historic Rangitoto Bach brought back to it's former glory.

Rangitoto Island Historic Conservation Trust officially opens the first restored bach at Rangitoto

An historic bach on Auckland's Rangitoto Island is to be formally opened to the public after three years of being faithfully restored to its former glory.

Bach 38, a bungalow-style bach, has been restored by a dedicated team of volunteers from the Rangitoto Island Historic Conservation Trust (RIHCT). It was built in 1927 for Walter Pooley, the first caretaker on the island and then-owner of the shop and tearooms. The restoration included re-roofing, re wiring, new weatherboards, new sections of floor and ceiling and was designed to include all the original cabinetry and much of the bach's furnishings and décor.

Bach 38 before and after

The official ceremony to celebrate the completion of the restoration will be held this Saturday 16 March with officials such as George Farrant, the Auckland City Council Heritage Manager, Historic Places Trust Northern Regional Manager Sherry Reynolds; representatives from the Department of Conservation, the Trust's principal sponsor, AMP Financial Services; the New Zealand National Parks and Conservation Foundation; as well as representatives of the many equipment and material donors and, of course, the volunteers who undertook the restoration.

"The restoration of Bach 38 was made possible thanks to the efforts of our many volunteers," says Elizabeth Andrew from RIHCT. "It's a big event and sets a wonderful precedent because bach communities, which were once so prevalent throughout the country, have now all but gone. The remnants of the communities at Rangitoto Wharf and Islington Bay represent a unique part of New Zealand's social history - of the holidays, community activities and general fellowship that is so fondly remembered by the older generation. And all of that nostalgia is just a short ferry ride from our principal city - Rangitoto really does provide an opportunity to experience a real slice of kiwiana."

Bach 38 side before and nearly done

Bach 38 was offered to the RIHCT in 2001 by Toni Taylor. Four generations of her family had enjoyed the uniqueness of Rangitoto Island and wanted the bach preserved for future generations of New Zealanders to enjoy. Now, thanks to the generous support of the Department of Conservation and principal sponsor AMP Financial Services, as well as donations of funds, materials and many hours of volunteer labour, the bach has been restored. The bach will now be used as headquarters for the RIHCT as well as serve as an information centre for the Island's bach communities.

Today, the remaining baches on Rangitoto built in the 1920s and 1930s are essentially in the same condition as they were in that era due to a prohibition put on further buildings or renovations from 1937. Then, during the 1970s and 1980s, the majority of baches were demolished as lessees died - until 1990 when the Department of Conservation, at the behest of the New Zealand Historic Places Trust, recognised the social and historical significance of the bach communities and placed a moratorium on bach demolition. The RIHCT was formed in 1997 with the purpose of recording the history of these communities and restoring the baches.

Bach 38 interior water damage

RIHCT plans to begin work on the next bach 114 at Islington Bay and has also started work on the prison camp site to allow for interpretation of this unique period in the Island's history.

2005 is the Year of the Built Environment as well as the 50th year of the New Zealand Historic Places Trust. Sherry Reynolds from the NZHPT will be presenting a Certificate of Merit to RICHT for the work they have done. This also coincides with the Auckland Museum display 'models for living 1905 - 2005'.

For further information, visit or contact Susan Yoffe on (09) 45 1894 or or Elizabeth Andrew on 025 737 055.