Te Tatua-a-Riukiuta
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Te Tatua-a-Riukiuta
Te T?tua-a-Riukiuta
Three Kings
Big King from Mt Roskill.jpg
Te T?tua-a-Riukiuta from Mt Albert
Highest point
Elevation133 m (436 ft)
CoordinatesCoordinates: 36°54?11?S 174°45?17?E / 36.902926°S 174.754651°E / -36.902926; 174.754651
LocationAuckland, North Island, New Zealand
Auckland volcanic field
Volcanic arc/beltAuckland volcanic field

Te T?tua-a-Riukiuta (also known as Three Kings) is a volcano in Three Kings, New Zealand that erupted 28,500 years ago.[1] The volcano had three prominent peaks and a number of smaller peaks until most of them were quarried away, leaving a sole remaining large peak called Big King.


Te T?tua-a-Riukiuta was probably the most complex volcano in the Auckland volcanic field, consisting of five significant scoria cones and about a dozen smaller scoria mounds, sitting inside a large explosion crater. Along the edge of this crater to the south runs Mount Albert Road, and to the north, Landscape Road. At 800 metres (2,600 ft) across and nearly 200 metres (660 ft) deep, the explosion crater, which was caused by the initial eruption, is the largest in Auckland.[2] The three largest scoria cones of the group were Big King at 133 m (436 ft) high, East King at 120 m (390 ft) high, and Highest King, which was 135 m (443 ft) high.

Lava flows ran from here down a stream valley for three kilometres to Western Springs. These flows created lava tunnels which still exist under the surface. Thus, rainwater falling on Te T?tua-a-Riukiuta and the surrounding area is channeled underground for miles until it emerges at Western Springs Lake. Most of these lava tunnels have collapsed but sections of them form caves and can be accessed from private properties in the area. It was formerly believed that the lava had travelled further and formed Meola Reef at Point Chevalier, but in 2008 it was discovered that the Meola Reef lava had come from the older Mount Saint John volcano.[2]

The eruption occurred 28,500 years ago. Charred twigs and wood were found in six boreholes drilled through Te T?tua-a-Riukiuta lava flows in 2006 and carbon dating of the organic material produced six very similar dates around 28,500 years.[1]


View north-east from the summit of Big King, showing terracing on the slopes from when it was a p? site.

An earlier name for the volcano was Te Tatua o Mataaho (the war belt of Mataaho), which referred to a deity living in the Maungawhau crater.[2][3] It was later adapted to Te T?tua-a-Riukiuta, which referred to Riukiuta, a senior priest of the Tainui waka who brought together diverse genealogical lines of the local tribes. The name Three Kings derives from the biblical Magi, and was named by Captain William Hobson's surveyor Felton Mathew in 1841. Big King refers to the second-highest (and only remaining) peak.[2]

View looking west, made in 1920, showing Three Kings Road (later Mount Eden Road, foreground) and part of Te T?tua-a-Riukiuta: Highest King is in the background to the left, with East King to its right.

Te T?tua-a-Riukiuta was once the site of a p?, and Big King has retained M?ori earthworks from that era such as kumara pits and terracing.

The area has been drastically quarried over the years for the red scoria it contains, and only one of the three large peaks (Big King) remains today, largely because of the water reservoir that was built on its summit at the beginning of the 20th century. The reservoir is below the hydraulic grade of the area and is hence maintained as an emergency supply reservoir only.

However, the large scoria deposits in the surrounding area are still being quarried. The groundwater level became a problem for the quarry in 1995, and Winstone Aggregates, the company operating the quarry, arranged with the Auckland City Council to supply the water to the region. However, as a result of local opposition to this arrangement, the water is instead discarded into the sea. This dewatering has led to concerns about subsidence.

In the 2014 Treaty of Waitangi settlement with Ng? Mana Whenua o T?maki Makaurau, a collective of 13 Auckland iwi, the volcano was officially named Te T?tua-a-Riukiuta and ownership was vested to the collective. It is now co-governed by the collective and Auckland Council in common benefit of the iwi "and all other people of Auckland".[4][5][6][7][8][9]


  1. ^ a b Lindsay, J.M.; Leonard, G.S.; Smid, E.R.; Hayward, B.W. (December 2011). "Age of the Auckland volcanic field: a review of existing data". New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics. 54 (4): 379-401. doi:10.1080/00288306.2011.595805. S2CID 129707270.
  2. ^ a b c d Hayward, Bruce W.; Murdoch, Graeme; Maitland, Gordon (2011). Volcanoes of Auckland: The Essential Guide. Auckland University Press. pp. 141-145. ISBN 978-1-86940-479-6.
  3. ^ "Story: T?maki tribes Page 1 - Tribal history and places". Te Ara. Retrieved 2014.
  4. ^ Dearnaley, Mathew (27 September 2014). "Volcanic cones regain Maori names". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2014.
  5. ^ "Ng? Mana Whenua o T?maki Makaurau Collective Redress Act 2014". New Zealand Legislation. Retrieved 2014.
  6. ^ "Ng? Mana Whenua o T?maki Makaurau Collective Redress Act 2014 registration guideline" (PDF). Land Information New Zealand. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 October 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  7. ^ "NZGB decisions - September 2014". Land Information New Zealand. Archived from the original on 29 October 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  8. ^ "Protection of tupuna maunga assured under ownership transfer". Auckland Council. Retrieved 2014.
  9. ^ "New governance structure for treasured t?puna maunga". Auckland Council. Retrieved 2014.
  • Volcanoes of Auckland: A Field Guide. Hayward, B.W.; Auckland University Press, 2019, 335 pp. ISBN 0-582-71784-1.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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