Often located well away from the bach and often the fear of many a child at having to visit it by candlelight or torch in the middle of the night, I know I used to freak-out and would rather hold-on till morning. The bach toilets vary in design and comfort, with some having lockable doors with windows to the three walls and hole in the board. A few of the long drops were built over a large cracks in the scoria that went down far enough for them to be cleaned by the high-tide waterline, but as the topsoil has slowly increased and filled in the ravines they no longer work. The long drops work well when not in constant use but after a large gathering over summer they can get rather rank. I myself enjoy sitting on the bog looking out at the pohutukawa and piwakawaka early in the morning, it is a unique experience that many people miss out on with these modern fandangled flushing toilets with their sanitary washbasins and soft 2-ply toiletpaper.
On Rangitoto Island showers are another unique
bach experience. If it is summer you can often go
for a dip in the ocean to keep clean but after a few
days will find that you need to wash the salty crust
that builds up in your hair and skin. Many baches
had the good old bucket of warm water and sponge-bath
setup or kids could often be bathed in a bucket or
small tub. If you really wanted to get fancy you could
build an outside shower with a pully system to hoist
a bucket up with warm water boiled on the stove, or
a solar setup with black plastic draped across rocks
to heat water which is then gravity fed into a showerhead.
These shower cubicles were often made in a semi-private
spot out the back with a pully on a tree or a hook
to hang a bucket on, and a platform to stand on. Drainage
was straight into the porous scoria. The hot water
often ran out all too quickly and re-heating the water
took too long to make having a shower a relaxing luxury
- it was all business, but having some clean warm
water on your skin after a few days (or weeks) was
A poem written by Andy Heyward while sitting
on the long drop one morning.
The creative throne of inspiration.
Long Drop toilets are no longer able to be used on Rangitoto Island, so when we restore baches we have to look at replacing the ‘hole’ but in a lot of cases keep the building. The solution for this appears to be to use a composting toilet system. Landcare Research www.landcareresearch.co.nz have provided advice to help us choose the right system (their new building uses composting toilets for the top two floors). Auckland City and Regional Councils have both been asked whether a composting toilet is permissible and with certain ‘load’ restraints we should be able to successfully install, use and maintain composting toilets on Rangitoto Island. The website www.compostingtoilet.org provides a full range of toilets, home built and commercial around the world including NZ. We think the KIWIBOG will suit our needs the best as long as careful use and management procedures are put into place.
That deals with the solids but what about the ‘grey waste’ or kitchen and shower water? This can also have adverse effects on the Rangitoto environment so the Trust is looking at using products available at ecostore a NZ company that specialise in chemical free, plant based renewable products e.g. biodegradable plastic bags and dish wash liquid. Other Bach owners might like to consider what is going down their sink wastes and look into changing their products as well. Can only be better for ‘good ole Rangi”. July 2004 Newsletter
The Dunny by the Bush Bard, the late, Mike McGee
Vi's Long Drop
A shower with pulley
Unisex Long Drop
Mens Urinal with drainage
Longdrop at Bach 38