News Letters

Rangitoto Ramblings - August 2011


"Once Upon a Time"
When the Devonport Borough Council was given Rangitoto Island to look after, they formed the Rangitoto Island Domain Board who faced with costs related running the island looked for methods to raise funds. One of the ways was to offer campsites for an annual fee. As more and more people took up the campsites it became unhygienic so they lessees encouraged building and this was the start of the Bach Communities. All that happened in 1911 – 100 years ago.

From the records of the Rangitoto Wharf Community;
Site 26 and therefore Bach 26, later known as Lambs Joint was leased by Jones & Co, Working Mens Club.
Bach 28 was the first dwelling on the island and was built by William Pooley who was appointed a caretaker in 1911.
Bach 27 also built by William Pooley and was originally the boat shed for Bach 28, it is currently known as Don-Jan.
Bach 36 – a request to build was lodged on 8th August 1911 – 100 years ago today as I write this newsletter – permission was granted by the Domain Board on 29th November 1911 to Messers Jones and others.
These baches are still standing, there were many more that have been removed.

Bach 36 - original art by Donna Massey

Wharf and Track Upgrades
In the upcoming 12 months there will be some changes to Rangitoto Island. The long awaited replacement of the Rangitoto Wharf will start in October. Initially offsite for 3 to 4 months, it will be onsite for approx 8 months. Being upgraded will be the Coastal Track from Islington Bay to Rangitoto Wharf. It is very rough and has been the cause of many injuries in the past as visitors run for the ferry. It is hoped with these improvements that Rangitoto and Motutapu will become more of a walking destination.

Auckland Heritage Festival
With the advent of Auckland Council this will be even bigger this year as it has amalgamated all of Auckland. The Trust is running its famous Cream scone, tea and tours twice a day on Sundays, 18th & 25th September and 2nd October. The Trust has just ordered sleeveless vests for volunteers to wear, Marian has trialled one for us, they will be available at the AGM to look at and purchase. Bookings through Fullers either by phone or online.

End of Year Volunteer Function
Usually at the end of the year we have a barbeque on Rangitoto Island for our Volunteers. It was suggested this year that the trip to Coromandel including a visit to Driving Creek Railway. Run by 360 Discovery look at their website and if interested email and register then we can let you know details such as date and cost.

Restoration Update
The Trust has been working on Bach 114 since 2005 and we are pleased to announce that apart from some very minor finishing, our fabulous volunteers have completed the project.
There will be news at a later date of an appropriate ceremony and later on the bach will be made available for use by the public. All of this depends on the signing off of the management agreement with the Department of Conservation – more of that will be explained at the AGM on the 3rd September. In the meantime we have made great progress on Bach 78 starting on the structural underfloor. Plans are in place for Bach
103, known as Flounder Inn also at Islington Bay, and more exciting we have been asked to restore Bach 52 at Rangitoto Wharf; it will be good to be back showcasing our work at
Rangitoto Wharf.

Bach 52 at Rangitoto Wharf

The Trusts work was put to good use earlier this year when Marcus Lush and the rest of his team from JAM TV stayed overnight in Bach114 to film a segment for his programme
NORTH. This was made extra special when he spoke with his father outside Bach 65 which was originally owned by the Lush family. North is now available on DVD, look out
for the amazing sunrise taken from the summit of the island.

Also now in our archives is the video by Kylie Newman on the Trust as part of her final assessment for her degree at AUT and recently obtained archives filmed in 1968 and
1984 from TVNZ. All of these can be viewed at the AGM while sharing afternoon tea.

Bach 65 - original art by Donna Massey

This year the Island was on high alert when rat tracks were found in monitoring stations at Rangitoto Wharf. Earlier a rat had been found hiding in the engine bay of a van going to Motuihe Island. In the next few weeks there will be released Takahe and Saddleback on Motutapu Island. If we want to see both Rangitoto and Motutapu Island flourish we must be
extra vigilant about what we accidentally take when we travel there.

Please check and recheck all you bags, clothing and footwear for stowaways, for animals, insects and plants. Have all your food securely packaged in sealed containers and in closed carry bags. The Trust makes sure all its materials required for restoration are thoroughly checked and packaged before being delivered to Island.

Don't forget to check our website as it is updated regularly and Rangitoto Island on Facebook.

Working bees updates can also be found on

Thank you for reading
Elizabeth Andrew