Consider this address: Bach 38, Rangitoto.That's it. Nothing posh - no postal code, nothing to indicate its home city.
But then Rangitoto is in some ways bigger than the city of Auckland, its symmetrical slopes slumbering in the Waitemata Harbour, always on view to isthmus city.
Less visible - in fact almost removed from sight and memory - is the humble bach, the name we gave those shacks in which we once spent our summers all those years ago.
Who would have thought that nowadays, when holiday retreats seem more like mansions, that the humble bach could win an international award? But Bach 38, solid, uncompromising - and a country mile away from any architectural pretensions - has done just that.
It's been awarded an Honourable Mention in UNESCO's Asia Pacific Heritage Awards and when a plaque is presented on April 4, it'll become the first New Zealand restoration project to have won such an award.
For babyboomers, it's heart-warming to see an old bach recognised and preserved this way. The same can't be said about other iconic baches throughout the country. The very word bach is endangered - you rarely hear it these days. Yet whether in our vernacular or in physical shape, these old holiday retreats represent a sturdy, self reliant Kiwi culture.
They're not quite log cabins, but according to research done by volunteer and local historian Susan Yoffe, the early bachers hardly had it easy on an island with no water, roads or other amenities. She found:
- Their first baches were made of cases used to import buses into New Zealand
- Rainwater was collected from the roof.
- Ovens and fireplaces were fuelled by driftwood.
- When night fell, candles and kerosene lamps were the only lighting…
Is this the past - or a possible future?