In 1877, a three-acre site owned by the Waste Lands Board was identified as a suitable spot for a school at Three Kings. The first building was built by Messrs Smith & Wooller at a cost of £325. Comprising just one room with a porch, it opened on 6 May 1879 with 44 children enrolled.
Being one of the community’s first buildings, this modest school-room was often used for public meetings. In 1885, it benefitted from the addition of a second room. Each classroom was heated with a fireplace and on wet days the coats and stockings were hung before the fire to dry. On one wall was a large portrait of Queen Victoria, and the children regularly sang the National Anthem.
The parents and local community took great pride in the school in these early days. They raised funds to purchase a piano, establish a library and beautify the grounds with shelter trees. Some of the trees planted during this time still exist today.
Four rooms were added to the school house in 1891, and in 1912, a further two rooms were built to accommodate the rapidly growing roll. The school roll peaked at 642 in 1950, before the opening of other schools nearby saw a gradual decline in numbers. In 2016 the school had approximately 550 students.
In 1943 the name of the school changed from Mt Roskill School to Three Kings School, to better represent its location and avoid any confusion with the nearby Dominion Road School in Mt Roskill. Twenty years later, Three Kings School became the first public school in the North Island to install an indoor tepid pool.
Despite several significant modifications over the years, Three King School remains one of the few Auckland schools on its original site.