Click to return home

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.

Become a fan Bookmark and Share
subtop

Museum Bach Opening Hours

Bach 38 Museum at Rangitoto Wharf will be open by appointment info@rangitoto.org
Opening times are from the first Fullers ferry of the day to the last ferry of the day.

Open other days by appointment - info@rangitoto.org

line break

Latest Additions

Education Pages

New content added to the education pages here>>

line break

Rangitoto Scouts

Photos of the Scout Camps in the 1930s, 1948 and 1951 here>>

line break

Rangitoto Wrecks

Photos of the wrecks here>>

line break

Rangitoto Ramblings

The latest newsletter is available here>>

line break

 

Gareth Cooke Photos

Gareth has taken a series of photos of the Rangitoto Baches and wrecks view his online gallery here>>

line break

From the TVNZ Archives

A Summer Place

line break

Photos of Rangitoto Island submitted by the public on Flickr are here>>

line break

Rangitoto Island Biosecurity Standards. Find out what you need to know here>>

line break

The Environmental Care Code and Water Care Code can be found here>>

line break

New photos have been added to the galleries here>>

line break

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>>

line break

 

AMP

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

line break

Archives

Newsletters
Heritage Notes
Restoration / #38 / #114
Membership / How to join
Submit / Stories & Photos
Bach 38 / Open Day Images

line break

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)

Where is Rangitoto Island?

Rangitoto Island is a volcanic island in the Hauraki Gulf near Auckland, New Zealand. It is an iconic landmark of Auckland as its distinctive symmetrical 260 metre (850 feet) high shield volcano cone is visible from much of the city. It is the most recent and the largest (2311 hectares) of the approximately 48 volcanoes of the Auckland Volcanic Field.

Click on the map of New Zealand to take you a closer view of the Hauraki Gulf.

New Zealand showing Hauraki Gulf

Rangitoto is Māori for 'Bloody Sky', with the name coming from the full phrase Nga Rangi-i-totongia-a Tama-te-kapua ('The days of the bleeding of Tama-te-kapua'). Tama-te-kapua was the captain of the Arawa waka and was badly wounded on the island, at a (lost) battle with the Tainui iwi at Islington Bay.

Rangitoto was formed by a series of eruptions between 600-700 years ago. Scientists are in dispute about the length of the eruptions, which are thought to have lasted (with interruptions) for 10 to 200 years. In any case, the amount of mass that erupted from the volcano was about equal to the combined mass of all other eruptions in the Auckland Volcanic Field before.

The volcano is not expected to become active again, although future eruptions are likely (spoken in geological timespans) elsewhere in the wider area of the field. Subsidising matter during the cooling process has left a moat-like ring around the crater summit, which may be viewed from a path which goes right round the rim and up to the highest point.

The island is considered especially significant because all stages from raw lava fields to scrub establishment and sparse forests are visible. In some parts of the island, fields of lightweight, clinker-like black lava stones are still exposed, appearing very recent to a casual eye. Visitors walk through the lava fields and may also walk through some of about seven known lava caves - tubes left behind after the passage of liquid lava. The more accessible of the caves are signposted.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Just for Fun: If you were to dig straight down from the cone of Rangitoto Island through the centre of the Earth you would end up in the south of Spain near Arriate. See below images or go here to see where you would end up if you dug down from your backyard - loads of fun.

dig down from Rangitoto Island

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

dig down through the earth