Restoration of Rangitoto Bach 38

Bach 38 was built in 1928 by Walter Pooley, a frequent visitor to Rangitoto Island in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf. Walter was appointed caretaker of Rangitoto “without emolument” by the Rangitoto Island Domain Board and he and his wife eventually retired to the island, furnishing the bach in characteristic 1920’s style.

Subsequent owners installed a generator, changed the wallpaper, added a concrete area to the back of the house, enlarged the kitchen and put in a (never completed) bathroom


In 1952 the house again changed hands and four generations of the same family used the bach until the beginning of this century. Over this period the building fell into disrepair, with the water tank rusting, the roof leaking and the floor rotting.

Restoration involved extensive repairs to the roof and to the exterior and interior structure. Salmond Reed’s role was to assist in providing advice to the army of volunteers carrying out the restoration, to ensure that the heritage values of the building were not compromised.

In 2001, Bach 38’s then owner donated the building to the Rangitoto Island Historic Conservation Trust for restoration and reuse. The bach is now a museum and information centre focusing on the history of the Rangitoto baches and it also serves as headquarters for the Rangitoto Island Historic Conservation Trust as they endeavour to preserve other remaining baches.

In 2008 the Trust was honored for its conservation work on the bach by an award from UNESCO for the Asia-Pacific region.

The citation reads:

The restoration of the historic caretaker’s cottage in the seaside community of Rangitoto Island has conserved a unique historic building typology. 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 details, such as the interior finishes, has allowed the building fabric to remain intact. The building has been appropriately adapted into a museum and information center that serves a valuable public education purpose. The community grassroots effort in accomplishing the project is to be praised.

Completed in April 2005, this project received an Honourable Mention in the 2008 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards.

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