News Letters

Rangitoto Ramblings - August 2014


Andrew Trotter and his 'Trotter Track'

When we visited my grandparents Andy and Feia Trotter, we would often choose to walk to their Bach via this track as it was the quickest way. We always hoped to see a wallaby but rarely did, but there was always hope! Their Bach was called R – U – IN, now site 105.

My grandparents came to Auckland about 1930 and knew of Rangitoto as they had visited their cousins the Craig's, who managed their daughter's farm on Motutapu. These visits possibly led them to build their Bach on Rangitoto. When it was built I do not know but it was there in 1932. My grandfather Andy was a small man but he was very strong and was used to working hard in the Hikurangi mines from the time he was 12 years old. I guess he wanted the quickest way to his Bach. He knew how to 'dig rocks'. I know how hard basalt is to dig through, after my brother and I dug the last dunny hole for him using a crow bar!

I recall 'Pampa' was always adding cockle shells to the track. We would gather the cockles in a flax 'kit' from the channel near the opening of 'The Gap', and then bring them back to the Bach. He'd put them in a big black cauldron on the wood stove and wait for them to cook and cool, before devouring them, often with homemade bread that Nana had made. It was always delicious! Andy would then put the water onto the garden and carry the empty shells (he hated waste), to where the track was barest, tip them out, and our feet would do the rest, crushing them as we walked back and forth to the wharf.

Returning from a day trip to Auckland, Andy was found dead on his beloved track in June 1960.

Written by Andrew's eldest grandson Colin in November 2013

Swimming Pool at Rangitoto Wharf

Recently the two very bad spells of weather with extremely high tides and winds wreaked havoc on the swimming pool causing the outer wall near outlet. The damage is severe and adds to the overall unkempt look of the pool. The community regularly clean the pool but to see this damage makes ones heart sink. The Department of Conservation does not have the resources and neither does the Trust to effect and repairs or restoration that the Pool desperately needs.

In late April the Trust along with RIBCA made an application to the Community Conservation Partnerships Fund for the monies to restore the swimming pool for public use. We are not hopeful as the announcement date for successful applications has passed and we have not heard anything positive. Should anyone have any other funding ideas for a large amount of money please let us know.

Wharf Update

The blessing and opening of Te Wharoa o Peteru (carved gateway) and the new wharf for Rangitoto Island will happen on Thursday 14th August. Progress on building the wharf was slow with the project striking difficulty cutting through the rock to place the piles etc.

Marine Archaeology

Recently Kurt Bennett from Flinders University, South Australia, studying for his Masters in Marine Archaeology came to visit Rangitoto Island to find and record the use of materials in baches from the 50 or so wrecks on the Island

He found portholes and water tanks that have been put to adaptive re-use. Thank you to those who opened up their Bach and who told him their stories.

Excerpt from UNESCO Asia Conserved Volume II

The restoration of the historic caretaker's cottage in the seaside community of Rangitoto Island has conserved a unique building typography. The conservation works were carried out in a modest and effective manner, allowing for continuity in the building's function within the community. The attention to detail, such as interior finishes, has allowed the building fabric to remain intact. The building has been appropriately adapted into a museum and information centre that serves a valuable public education purpose. The community grassroots effort in accomplishing the project is to be praised.

Auckland Heritage Festival

Once again the Trust will be participating in the Auckland Heritage Festival. The dates are 27th, 28th September, 4th, 5th, 11th and 12th October. Tell your friends, work colleagues and relatives and make a group and come and enjoy a walk, talk and cream scone with tea or coffee.

BNZ – Closed for Good

Once again the Trust has been selected to host BNZ volunteers on the 4th September. The project will be centred on Bach 38 and what or how we can offer a wider range of activities to diverse groups e.g. school parties studying Rangitoto biology, craft and art groups using found materials at the same time as increasing our funding stream from the Bach.