Rangitoto is best known for its historic bach homes, however, WWII introduced a new purpose for this island: military defence. With the threat of invasion at Auckland Harbour, Rangitoto was declared a “Prohibited Area” and was used as a harbour defence fire control and radar station.
Beginning in 1939, bach owners on the western end of the island were instructed to evacuate (with the exception of a few year-round residents). By October 1941 the entire island community was given orders to leave. Despite these military restrictions, bach owners were allowed to visit the island on the last Sunday of every month from 10:00 to 16:30.
Although military use of the island continued up through the end of the war, by 1943 bach owners were permitted to access their homes once more. For some, the ban had been in effect for nearly four years! In response to this inconvenience, owners were compensated for lease fees paid during the period in which they were unable to access the island. /VS