|Manawat?whi or Ng? Motu Karaka|
|Area||6.85 km2 (2.64 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||295 m (968 ft)|
The Three Kings Islands, called Manawat?whi by M?ori, are a group of 13 uninhabited islands about 55 kilometres (34 mi) northwest of Cape Reinga, New Zealand, where the South Pacific Ocean and Tasman Sea converge. They measure 6.85 km2 (2.64 sq mi) in area. The islands are situated on a submarine plateau, the Three Kings Bank, and are separated from the New Zealand mainland by an 8 km wide, 200 to 300 m deep submarine trough. Therefore, despite relative proximity to the mainland, the islands are listed with the New Zealand Outlying Islands. The islands are an immediate part of New Zealand, but not part of any region or district, but instead Area Outside Territorial Authority, like all the other outlying islands except the Solander Islands.
Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman bestowed the name Drie Koningen Eyland (Three Kings Island) on 6 January 1643, three weeks after he became the first European known to have seen New Zealand. Tasman anchored at the islands when searching for water. As it was the Twelfth Night feast of the Epiphany, the day the biblical three kings known as the wise men visited Christ the child, he named the main island accordingly. Tasman also named a prominent cape Cape Maria van Diemen, after the wife of Anthony van Diemen, Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). These are the only two geographic features in New Zealand to retain the names given to them by Abel Tasman. Tasman found the islands to be inhabited by M?ori, but since 1840 they have been uninhabited. The M?ori population probably never exceeded 100.
In 1945, G. T. S. Baylis made an amazing discovery on Three Kings when he found the last remaining specimen anywhere of a tree which is now called Pennantia baylisiana, a kaikomako. It was recognised internationally as the world's rarest and thus most endangered tree. Extremely careful propagation in New Zealand has resulted in the species being reliably established, but it continues to be carefully monitored. The islands were made a wildlife sanctuary in 1995. Other plants endemic to the islands include Tecomanthe speciosa and Elingamita johnsonii.
The Three Kings group falls into two subgroups with four main inhospitable islands and a number of smaller rocks on a submarine plateau called King Bank which rises out of extremely deep water. There are no beaches. The surrounding sea has very clear visibility and contains teeming fish life, attracting hundreds of divers. Another attraction is the wreck of the Elingamite which foundered there on 9 November 1902.
Three Kings Island is a nature reserve administered by the Department of Conservation