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.
17 July 1890: Rangitoto Island became a Public Domain governed by the Corporation of the Borough of Devonport (Rangitoto Island Domain Board)
1897: First wharf built, and track to the summit. Landing Tax 1d per adult, 1/2d per child.
1911: Domain Board issued leases for campsites at 2 pounds per year. Mr Pooley appointed caretaker.
1917: Mr Pooley applied to build kiosk and tearooms.
1918: Sites for permanent buildings with approved sanitation let. Increase in baches: 1927:59, 1937:140
1926-33: Mt. Eden prisoners build road to Beacon End and Islington Bay, swimming pool at Rangitoto Wharf and hall at Islington Bay.
1935/36: Minister of Lands reviews legality of leases.
1937: No further leases for sites allowed. Existing leases given 20 years.
1957: 95 leases issued for 33 years. Strict conditions: no sale, exchange or rent, no additions or alterations. On death of lessee bach removed or demolished.
1970/ 80s: Significant number of baches demolished.
1990: Renewal of leases for 34 baches for a further 33 years. Moratorium on demolition during architectural and historical study.
1997: The three communities registered as Historic Areas by New Zealand Historic Places Trust. Formation of the Rangitoto Island Historic Conservation Trust.