So for this next batch of NZ photos, I’ve grouped together some photos of the baches (pronounced "batches") of Rangitoto Island, which is a 30-minute ferry ride from Auckland in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. The word "bach" comes from "bachelor", and is currently used to refer to a small cabin, or holiday home, near the water. Eve, our kiwi friend, said that before being used as holiday homes many baches in New Zealand were the homes of single men (thus the naming).
We spent an entire day at Rangitoto Island, and hiked to the top of the dormant volcano. Much of the island is volcanic rock, and there are beaches and woods, as well as hiking paths and these bach settlements. I did a little more research on Rangitoto, and found out that there are currently three bach settlements on the island, and most of the places were built in the 20s and 30s. A lot of the original houses have been destroyed, and there is now a Trust which is working to preserve the remaining buildings as historic places. Here’s what the Rangitoto Island Historic Conservation Trust has to say:
The bach communities … 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 artifacts of New Zealand’s architectural, and social history and therefore are important beyond their locality.
We didn’t see any remnants of swimming pools or tennis courts, but we saw a bunch of the existing houses; some are still used by the families who built them. These photos show a snapshot of the architecture, art, and some of the decay, of the buildings.