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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)

Story pages( 1 l 2 l 3 l 4 )

Submitting a story or photo.

If you would like to submit a story, memory or photos of your time on Rangitoto to be included on this page, or anything that you think would be of interest to our readers, please email the webmaster with your story or comment. I will update this page on a regular basis.

If emailing photos please try to keep the filesize down - a good size is 150mm wide at 72dpi, colour RGB and saved as a jpg file. Include a short caption explaining the photo and any people featured.

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I have many fond memories of this unique place and I am grateful to those that are committed to preserving part of the Islands history. James Buchanan (Unc!) would be pleased
Steve Pearce

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I liked singing to the rats on my harmonica
Alana Blackman

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I have many fond memories of childhood holidays at Rangitoto ... the devonshire teas and the bingo evenings at 'the shop', the Miss Rangitoto contest, beach combing and Aunty Vi .... this is a great website of cherished memories
Tracey Heyward-Petry

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The website is great, I look forward to the development of it. We all know how important Rangi is as a heritage site. I wonder how many left footed jandals are found near the gull colony now ?
Jenny Gambirazzi (nee Heyward)

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Channel of Rangitoto - a poem by Andy Heyward
The trip across water to Rangitoto
is a journey of time and memory.
Waves as constant as the years,
Tide in tide out.
The shell path beats me to the bach every time.
Faces who have known me longer than I have them,
greet me like I last saw them yesterday.
As I walk the familiar beaten path
my mind runs forward and back
like an eager dog on a run.
Anticipating the familiar embrace
of the Black Bach and reminiscing
the infatuation of childhood adventures.
This is belonging.

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I have so many fond memories of "Rangi" none more important to me than those wonderful summer holidays spent having an absolute blast. I also have never forgotten the great characters I had the opportunity to meet during my time there with my family at the shop & tearooms. Who could forget the great bushfire we had in one of those scorching hot days back in the 70s. My biggest regret was having to ride or walk to school on Motutapu island.

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My name is Max Noble nephew of Reg Noble and to read the stories in this site is like a trip down memory lane. I was privileged to have been lucky enough to have spent just about all my childhood spare time on this island paradise. To explain to anybody just how much Rangi becomes part of your life is a futile exercise and even 40 years on there are very few days when I do not think about my time there. Reading your old newsletters has been a great experience and memories came rolling back when you read some of the old names that pop up in them. At first all holidays were spent at the kiosk and when Reg sold it we all moved around the track to Vi's "pink" bach where the same great times were had.

I will list a few memories:
Seagull outboards at 5:00am
Tracks we made through the bush. We had shortcuts everywhere on the Rangi wharf side
Reg's scone making skills in the wood oven. Topped with pohutakawa honey made on the island
Chasing mice out of his old bus before daytrippers arrived
Old fish smokers going all day in the bush
Safes hanging in the trees
The old kiosk. The bathroom and toilet was cut out of rocks at the back of the kiosk
Stamping mail in the kiosk
Wheeling milk and papers etc from the boat to the kiosk on the old pull trolleys
Cleaning the swimming pool. pulling the swimming pool plug with that heavy rope and everyone sweeping out the pool
Unloading goods from blue boats on a really full tide when they could come right into the swimming pool area
Rowing dinghy backwards for hours on a full moon with Reg hanging over the back catching piper
Vi's handiwork always painting the rocks everywhere in bright colours and her handiwork when she sewed flags and the like for the fishing and swimming competitions
How can you forget the possums and wallabies. Wooden possum traps with apple hanging in them
How many times did people have to climb the summit to send out mirror messages that someone had missed the boat
Driving to the beacon or Islington bay in Reg's pick up. gawd what a ride

I could sit here all day reminiscing, Just keep up the great work you are all doing and have fun doing it.
Max Noble

Story pages( 1 l 2 l 3 l 4 )