A monument cairn was unveiled here on the approximate site of the original Wesley Training College buildings on 20 September 1941, to mark the centenary of the Methodist Church in New Zealand.
Established on this site in 1848, the Wesleyan College provided education training to mostly Māori students. From 1850 the institution was partly funded by the government to serve as an industrial school for European children as well. It was one of Auckland’s earliest religious institutions. By 1869 a dwindling school roll of only 19 Pākehā and five Māori students essentially spelled the end for the school. However, following a Wesleyan Methodist Conference in January 1876, the school was reinstated as a religious institution for Māori ministers and catechists, and continued to operate at Three Kings until 1922.
Around 1929 the main college building was removed and between then and 1939, some of the land formerly occupied by the training institution was subdivided and sold to private owners. A decision was made by the Road Board at the time to preserve the Big King volcanic cone as a public reserve.
In 1939, the government purchased 178 acres of the former Wesley Estate for the development of the first planned state housing area in Mt Roskill.
The monument you see before you was erected by the Department of Housing Construction and is thought to incorporate stone salvaged from the former buildings. The plaque on the memorial reads: ‘This marks the site of the Three Kings Wesleyan Native Institution Foundation stone laid by the Governor Sir George Grey, April 6 1848. Transferred to Wesley College Paerata August 28 1922.’
Rev W. A. Burley, the president of the NZ Methodist Conference, unveiled the memorial.