One Tree Hill known in Māori as Māungakiekie at 182 metres (597 ft) is Auckland’s largest intact volcanic cone, behind Rangitoto, and offers 360 degree views of Auckland.
Despite its name there is no longer a tree on top of the hill. The 125 year-old Monterey pine was removed in 2000 after being attacked by activists with chainsaws on two separate occasions. The stump of the tree remains and there are plans next year to plant a grove of trees on the summit.
Māungakiekie has significance to the Māori people as it was the largest Māori pa site in the pre-European 18th century.
On the summit is the grave of Sir John Logan Campbell and a obelisk that was bequeathed by Campbell. Campbell believed that Māori would gradually die out and the obelisk would be a fitting memorial. The obelisk was completed in 1940 but was not unveiled until after the War on 24 April 1948. During its construction it was suggested that rather than be a memorial it could be a centennial tower to celebrate the centennial year of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. At the front of the obelisk is a bronze statue of a Māori warrior.
One Tree Hill also has significance is popular culture. Irish band U2 wrote the song ‘One Tree Hill’, in memory of Greg Carroll, an Aucklander and employee of the band, who was killed in a motorcycle accident in Dublin. Carroll was part of a group that took U2 lead singer Bono to One Tree Hill during his first visit to New Zealand in 1984.
The gates are open 7 am to 7 pm winter and 7 am to 8:30 pm summer. While visiting One Tree Hill be sure to check out neighbouring Cornwall Park and the Stardome Observatory. Together One Tree Hill Domain and Cornwall Park form Auckland city’s largest parkland.