Mount Tarawera

Image: Lisa Cooper | Creative Commons

Introduction

On 10 June 2011 New Zealand remembered the Mt Tarawera eruption that occurred 125 years ago - devastating the landscape, claiming the lives of over 120 people and displacing many more.

On 10 June 2011 New Zealand remembered the Mt Tarawera eruption that occurred 125 years ago - devastating the surrounding landscape, claiming the lives of over 120 people and displacing many more.

125 years ago

On the morning of 10 June 1886, together with violent earthquakes and intense lightning, Mount Tarawera's three peaks erupted.

The eruption produced enormous volumes of hot mud and vented fountains of glowing scoria and a cloud of ash up to 10 kilometres high.

The settlements of Te Tapahoro, Moura, Te Ariki, Totarariki and Waingongogongo were destroyed or buried. Ash and mud blanketed the landscape and the Pink and White Terraces appeared to be obliterated.

Mt Tarawera was New Zealand's deadliest eruption. The official death toll was 150, although the actual figure is now thought to be around 120.

More recently

125 years on local iwi are working with DOC to reconnect with places and return to the land; to care for it and develop business opportunities in this stunning environment.

Examples of this work include:

  • Mt Tarawera Wildling Pine Eradication project. This is a joint project between Ngati Rangitihi and DOC to clear Mt Tarawera of wildling pines.
  • The Tarawera Trail opened in 2013. The project is a partnership between DOC and several Maori land-owning trusts that border Lake Tarawera and Te Wairoa Valley.

The Pink and White Terraces

Once thought to be shattered to bits, the Pink and White Terraces have recently been rediscovered by elated GNS scientists who are '95 per cent certain' that they've found the bottom two tiers of the Pink Terraces.

Watch GNS scientist Cornel de Ronde’s presentation at Rotorua Museum.

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