Haunted Auckland investigation: Rangiriri Hotel – Waikato [Overnight session REPORT]

Location: Rangiriri Hotel, 8 Rangiriri Road.
Date: Sunday 26 th June 2022

History of the Location:

Research indicates that there were two Hotels in Rangariri that were established around 1866.
The ‘Travellers Rest Hotel’ was built by August 1866 but burned down in January 1877 after being unoccupied for some years. The ‘Royal Mail Hotel’ (also known as ‘Sherley’s hotel after its proprietor and later the Rangiriri Hotel) also experienced a similar fate, burning down in 1883. It was rebuilt in 1884.
An 1883 town survey plan at the time of the Rangiriri fire, reveals that the area consisted of only seven houses, a store, the hotel and the cemetery. Of those planned streets, only 4 remain
today. It is rumoured to have again partially burned down in 1905 and was rebuilt, in its current layout. It also suffered flooding from the Waikato river in 1907 and 1926. It is now a category two Historic Places Trust building.
The location is very close to the site of some of the fiercest fighting during the Waikato Land wars in 1863. Rangiriri was hard won by the British, with the action costing the lives of more
government forces than any other during the New Zealand wars (130). Maaori were similarly impacted by the death of 41 Maaori including 6 chiefs. Across the road lies the Maaori war and
Early Settler’s cemetery. Further up the road is the Te Wheoro’s redoubt, the location of the British military stores and garrison from 1863.
The hotel’s location between Auckland and Hamilton meant it was a stopping point for travellers, where coach horses would be fed/watered and stabled at the rear of the property (now a
neighbouring paddock).

The two bars were required because in the early 1900s, the ‘house bar’ catered to women who were not allowed in the male-only ‘main bar’ area.

Previously reported activity:

  • A staff member reported to Aimee and Natasha that she had seen a full bodied apparition of a woman.
  • Another reported that she saw a shadow pass behind her when she was completing admin, during a period of covid lockdown – no one else was in the building.
  • A chef (not Chris) who lived on site for many years would not share his experiences with us directly but admits that the location is definitely haunted. He was overheard telling
    another staff member that he saw a dark mist on the stairs one day.
  • Female staff member experienced several items falling off shelf near front door…whilst others remained on the shelf in their normal positions.
  • Female staff member reported glasses falling from the bar
  • Kelvin Cruickshank (celebrity psychic) reported seeing the spirit of the original proprietor’s wife during his visit.
  • One truck driver refused to stay in one of the rooms because his lights and alarm kept going on/off.
  • Several reported stories from unnamed sources about a tall woman in a white dress in their rooms at night who is known to lock doors, move furniture and play with the lights.

Team members for this investigation:

Mark Wallbank
Barbara Armstrong
Natasha Kristofferson-Tuck
Aimee Peterken

First impressions from the team when entering the building:

The building is your typical old kiwi tavern, with dark wood panelling, cosy wallpaper and booths in the restaurant area. You get a real sense that this is a very special and meaningful place for locals, with lots of motorbikes parked outside for a casual drink in the beer garden and families eating the large portions in the restaurant. The staff were welcoming and most seemed
interested in our visit. They were happy to share stories they had heard. The food was excellent!

Note: Mark rates the banoffee pie as the best he has ever had, and Aimee continues to return for the seafood chowder!

Description of the building:

The two storey hotel has 10 bedrooms (5 doubles), a restaurant, a commercial grade ‘open to customers view’ style kitchen, a rear split, levelled ‘beer garden’ type area and 2 traditional bar
areas. The bathrooms upstairs have been modernised to a very high level.
The building has been restored over the years, modernising the interior whilst maximising original features such as the wooden flooring and high ceilings. The upstairs area was in the midst of renovation at the time of our visit.

Points of note in relation to possible contributors to activity reported by the Haunted Auckland

  • Carpets were pulled up in the hallways which caused significant creaking and noise when moving around the upstairs area.
  • Floors were very uneven in many bedrooms and the hallway.
  • Possible infrasound impacts due to proximity to motorway – rumble of trucks and cars could be heard on recordings and by our own ears.

Rooms which stood out:

Mark felt that the one room which stood out to him was the small lounge/breakfast room off the kitchen. He reports “Not sure why, it just felt odd. Like I wasn’t alone, or there was someone
watching…to the point I looked around the room in a somewhat semi-paranoid manner looking for a possible hidden spy camera in the ceiling fire alarm!”.

He also said that he didn’t feel anything in the other rooms during the visit, but the hallway felt “interesting” to him – stating that “perhaps it was just the titled angle of the flooring which had something to do with it”.

What we did:

  • We set up night-vision cameras at either end of the hallway which ran the whole time we were actively investigating.
  • We had stationary camera in room 4 during the sensory experiment.
  • We had a hand held camera in room 6 and one on a tripod in the breakfast lounge during an ”Estes” method communication session.
  • We left trigger objects in the hallway (Mr Smilie ball, marbles and a teddy bear with proximity sensor) and in room 10m (marbles).
  • We set up a voice recorder in the hallway
  • We placed EDI Plus Meters in the hallway and moved them around rooms as the communication sessions progressed. These measure temperature change, EMF levels, barometric pressure and vibration.
  • We had several other proximity sensors and Rempods spread across the hallway
  • Natasha tried a sensory deprivation session in Room 4 using the Mindplace – Limina set-up, which allows us to experiment with forms of sensory enhancement via various levels of gamma frequencies and light filters

What we experienced:

  • Unknown door creak: A door was heard creaking open around 10.30pm by Mark. At the time Aimee and Barbara were in the 2 bathrooms at the opposite end of the hallway and
    Natasha was stood behind Mark in the kitchen. The noise was caught on the camera – all doors except the washing room door were on camera at the time and did not open.
  • Wall switch turned off: Room 4 – Natasha plugged an extension cord into a socket in her room. This powered her camera in the hallway. It was working well at 9pm when
    Aimee checked it. At 10.30pm, after the door creak incident, the camera was checked for footage – only to discover that it was turned off and the battery was flat. Upon further
    investigation, the socket had been turned off at the wall switch. Natasha had been in the room for the past 90 minutes undertaking a sensory deprivation experience (on camera)
    and no one entered the room to touch the switch. The camera was in Aimee’s camera shot the entire time and was not touched by any of the team.
  • Shadow movement: Mark and Barbara were toying with a phone application called ‘The Portal’ during a communication session. They used the ”Estes” method, whereby they
    were in different rooms and could not hear each other. Aimee stood in the doorway of the kitchen, listening to both of them. She noted a shadow move from the hallway into Room
    7. His curtains were open at the time so she watched traffic pass by again to try to recreate the movement but was unsuccessful. The shadow was not caught on camera as
  • Aimee’s camera pointed up the hallway (the opposite way) and Natasha’s camera was off at the switch by this point.
  • Moving key: Aimee removed from her pocket upon sitting on the floor of the hallway during a communication session. Aimee moved away from the pile for a few minutes and
    when she returned the key for room 6 was at the bottom of the pile. We are unsure how it got there. Barbara remembers it being in her room whilst undertaking the Estes
    communication session.

So… do we think it’s haunted?

The story of a lady in a white dress, often linked to an early proprietor is quite common. The story of the lady at ‘The Rango’ is very reminiscent of the lady ‘Kate’ who reportedly haunts The Kentish Pub in Waiuku which we visited a few months previously. She too checks in on the staff to make sure they are doing things properly and makes herself known if she feels things are sub-par. In this instance, the lady at the Rango appears to be very friendly and keen to help in all her interactions with patrons.
To make a stronger determination about its haunted status, we would need to return to explore a few further areas including:

  • The potential socket being turned off at the wall – we would need to video this socket and repeat the task.
  • Trying to recreate any door creaks which were heard (possibly from the laundry).
  • Measurement of low vibration (infrasound) at various locations across the hotel
  • Trying to capture any shadows moving into Room 7 using more cameras stationed closer and on correct angles

It’s a big call to make without having something substantial to back up such a statement.

We all slept extremely well in our rooms that evening with nothing of note caught on our cameras as we slept (yes, we do record our own snoring!). The team feel that there is definitely something to the repeated stories. It is unclear at this point whether this would be an intelligent or residual haunting. There have been quite a few stories of apparitions and repeated actions (such as the lights and doors being messed with) over the years which shouldn’t be dismissed; and could possibly suggest an ”intelligent haunting”)

We are keen to return for a follow-up session or two to further look into the intriguing reports surrounding this wonderful location.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *