A few hundred metres down from the car park at Hawke's Bay's most popular natural attraction is a narrow hairpin bend with a spine-tinglingly large drop off one side.
Locals have no choice but to crawl around, palms sweating, hoping against hope there's no-one roaring up the other side.
So when hundreds of Mongrel Mob members, their cars and motorbikes decided to commandeer the carpark for a patching ceremony on Saturday, police understandably got nervous - heck, even Mongrel Mob Hastings leader Rex Timu was worried.
They closed the road for "safety reasons", starting what may now be an unstoppable chain of events.
How did it get to this?
The car park at the top of Te Mata Peak is hot property.
Tens of thousands of tourists make their way up to the lookout, which offers sweeping views over Hawke's Bay, every year.
The surrounding park is a paradise for walkers and mountain bikers and on a clear day there are always paragliders launching themselves off the sheer cliff by the lookout.
It's not unheard of, or even unusual, for carparks at the top of the peak to be blocked off.
Nimon's buses block off the spaces with road cones when a tourist bus is on its way up and then runs traffic control to help the bus down the narrow road safely.
Patching ceremonies are also common. They've have been held at the peak for more than 20 years.
They're usually at night, when few, if any, other members of the public are around.
But this time the Mongrel Mob made a conscious choice to hold it in the light of day. Timu says this was because large number of the gang's members were doing a night shift on the Saturday.
As it happened, that freed up more people than expected to make the journey up the peak. When Saturday dawned it was gloriously sunny and warm, one of the last Hawke's Bay days in the mid 20s before winter takes its grip.
A day where everyone would want to be at Te Mata Peak.
The man in the mountain
The Mongrel Mob, Māori, and indeed all of Hawke's Bay don't just see Te Mata Peak as a public place.
The well-recited legend portrays the hill as the body of the chief Rongokako, the grandfather of Kahungunu and ancestor of all iwi of Ngati Kahungunu.
Many centuries ago the people living in pa (fortified villages) on the Heretaunga Plains were under constant threat of war from the coastal tribes of Waimarama.
At a gathering at Pakipaki to discuss the problem, the solution came when a kuia sought permission to speak in the marae: "He ai na te wahine, ka horahia te po," she said. (The ways of a woman can sometimes overcome the effects of darkness).
Hinerakau, the beautiful daughter of a Pakipaki chief, was to be the focal point of a plan.
She would get the leader of the Waimarama tribes, a giant named Te Mata, to fall in love with her, turning his thoughts from war to peace. But she too fell in love.
The people of Heretaunga, however, had not forgotten the past and with revenge the motive, demanded that Hinerakau make Te Mata prove his devotion by performing seemingly impossible tasks.
The last task was to bite his way through the hills between the coast and the plains so that people could come and go with greater ease.
Te Mata died proving his love when he choked on the earth of Te Mata Peak and today his half-accomplished work can be seen in the hills in what is known as The Gap or Pari Karangaranga "echoing cliffs".
His prostrate body forms Te Mata Peak.
Looking towards the peak from Hastings, the huge bite that choked Rongokako can be seen.
The outline of his body forms the skyline, with his head to the south and his feet to the north.
European settlers also thought the hills resembled a man lying down and called him the Sleeping Giant.
"The thing is, to us it is not just a public place, it is Rongokako, our ancestor," Timu says.
"We open with karakia, and pay our respects to our ancestors, and our elders and members and others who have passed before us."
It says a lot about Rongokako that no widening and limited barrier work has been done on the road, which was opened in pre Resource Management Act times. He's too precious to mess with.
The council's anger
When Hastings District Councillor Damon Harvey heard the Mongrel Mob had caused the closure of the peak road he was furious.
"That's totally unacceptable. I walk and ride up there regularly, as do many family and friends, it needs to remain a safe place," Harvey said.
"Te Mata Park should not be closed off to the public so that new members can be welcomed into a gang.
"I was contacted by a concerned resident last night, who had been speaking to some visitors to Hawke's Bay that had felt intimidated and told to turn back around and not go to the top of the peak."
A hasty meeting was arranged where Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst met with the Te Mata Park Trust board and police on Thursday.
"Our fundamental concern is one of public safety," Hazlehurst said following the meeting.
Timu said he had never been told of any "process" that had to be gone through to stage the patchings.
He and Hazlehurst will meet on Sunday to try to find some common ground.
The problem for Hazlehurst, is the way this particular council has handled Māori sensitivities around Te Mata Peak.
Craggy Range built a track on the other side of the mountain to the public road after resource consent was granted by the council in 2017, without informing local iwi.
The iwi was so outraged to find the zig-zag track on Te Mata Peak that one iwi member wanted to summon a curse on the landowners.
Ngāti Kahungunu Trust chairman Ngahiwi Tomoana said the land was butchered and he was left feeling furious.
"It was like a stab in the heart really, what the hell, I mean I couldn't believe it ... unbelievable.
"This might sound over the top but it's like putting a walking track on Ayers Rock [Uluru], or bulldozing a track on the top of Mount Everest. That's what it means to us."
It means that when Hazlehurst asks Timu to follow a "process" around Te Mata Peak, she doesn't have the higher ground.
Hazlehurst admits would be difficult to ban mob events from happening on the peak.
The Mongrel Mob has a strong presence in Hawke's Bay, particularly in Hastings where there are now four separate chapters, unprecedented in NZ for a city of its size.
They don't run Hastings, but they have muscle.
The next three days will determine if they intend to flex it.