An Ideal Spot to Spend the Day

John Hoyte – Rangitoto From Tamaki

Situated in the magnificent Waitemata Harbour…it is an ideal spot to spend the day. The fact of it’s being uninhabited lends additional charm and a touch of romance to the outing. It is a real desert island, standing up like a grim, lone sentinel guarding the approach to the beautiful city.
Source: Otago Witness, 26 February 1908


Charles Leitch: Why am I here? It’s a long walk – the day is getting warmer and the timber is heavy. I’ve had a few sideways glances at the timber – one chap said ‘Are you building a house up on top, mate?’ Of course I couldn’t say what the timber was for, and I never know how to respond to the rough way of talking some locals have. So I just gave a smile and bade him good day.

Source: Auckland Star, 07 January 1896

Inspector Cullen: when I opened the letter I was stunned, I’d never come across anything like this in my career before. It was uncanny to think the letter had been written just a short time before by a living hand, but now everything was changed. If what the writer said was true, the present had become the past and there was no way to bring it back. It was a strange and upsetting experience.

Charles Leitch: On my arduous climb I met a few group of sightseers headed back to the wharf, and I had expected there’d be no-one else near the crater. But to my chagrin there’s still one man admiring the view when I arrive at the barren peak. I conceal the timber beneath a low bush before he sees me, then greet him. He seems friendly enough, and more of a gentleman than some I had met on the way up. But I’ll need to wait until he goes before I get to work. Meanwhile my real work is in safe hands.

James Taylor: I have no idea why I said what I did – we were passing the time of day in a perfectly normal manner when it just came into my mind. When I heard from the police later what had happened I was stricken with guilt – I thought what I said to him at the summit must have been the trigger for what happened later. But when I heard what was said in the note I realised it wasn’t my fault. But I lost some sleep over it, I can tell you.

Source: Auckland Star, 18 October 1906

Charles Leitch: I can’t believe what I just heard from the man at the summit – what does he know? Has he spotted the tools tucked into my jacket, or the lengths of timber beneath the bushes? Surely he cannot have guessed. But he seems not to notice my confusion, bids me farewell and heads down the track to catch the last steamer for the day.

Soon my life’s work will be achieved – once I am sure I will not be disturbed I will retrieve the timber and get to work. To pass the time I look across the harbour to the town, then the other way out to the great ocean. From today my great work, my manuscript, will begin to gather the fame it deserves…

Source: Taranaki Herald, 18 October 1906

Source: Poverty Bay Herald, 17 October 1906


All text other than that attributed to original sources is fictional and my own work.


The isthmus of Auckland with its extinct volcanoes. Ferdinand von Hochstetter, 1859.,_1859.png

Rangitoto. Auckland Star, 28 May 1879.

Rangitoto. Auckland Star, 07 January 1896.

Rangitoto Island. Otago Witness, 26 February 1908.

Rangitoto Tragedy. Poverty Bay Herald, 17 October 1906.

The Rangitoto Suicide. Auckland Star, 18 October 1906, Page 3.

The Suicide on Rangitoto. Taranaki Herald, 18 October 1906.