About the path
Arguably the most complex of the volcanoes in Tāmaki Makaurau, Te Tātua a Riukiuta / Big King
first erupted 28,500 years ago and created a lake of molten lava in the area of present-day Three Kings Primary School. The stone walls in the school grounds were built by unemployed workers during the 1930s Depression from the surface of the old lava lake. The eruptions and lava flow also created lava caves that dot the backyards throughout the surrounding suburbs.
The Māori name, Te Tātua a Riukiuta, refers to the bringing together of various tribes by the tohunga (priest) Riukiuta and refers to the three scoria cones that once stood alongside each other. The English name, Three Kings, refers to the three wise men in the Nativity story. Unfortunately, only Te Tātua a Riukiuta / Big King still stands, with both East and South King quarried away.
Ownership of Te Tātua a Riukiuta / Big King was returned to mana whenua as part of a 2014 Te Tiriti o Waitangi redress and is managed by the Tūpuna Maunga Authority.
Te Tātua a Riukiuta / Big King path is an awesome family walk and the reserve area is perfect for dogs, as it’s an off-leash area.
There are several pedestrian access points to the maunga (mountain):
- Duke Street (main entrance)
- off Daily Terrace
- off Fyvie Avenue
If you start at the Duke Street entrance, there is a small car park and on-street parking.
The first section of the path is sealed and relatively flat so is suitable for pushchairs. After walking for about 430m, head up the steep section of the path that leads to the tihi (summit).
The view from the tihi is not to be missed. There’s a bench at the tihi you can sit on and easily spot neighbouring maunga including Maungawhau / Mt Eden and Ōwairaka / Te Ahi-kā-a-Rakataura/ Mt Albert.
If you have a pushchair, you could turn around and go back the way you came to avoid stairs further along the path. Otherwise, head down the tihi and continue clockwise around the path. There is a flight of stairs on your way around, but the remaining path is mostly flat.