Rotorua was the only settlement of any size at the time and was where most Europeans lived. There were many Maori villages around the district. Te Wairoa was the largest and also had a few European homes, boarding houses


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Soon after midnight on 10 June 1886, people of Kaikohe, Auckland, New Plymouth, Napier and Blenheim were wakened by loud noises. They thought cannons were being fired from ships in distress offshore. People in Rotorua knew exactly what was happening. They could see fireworks blazing across the summits of the three dome-shaped hills we call Mount Tarawera. The red glow was also seen as far away as Auckland. New Zealand was experiencing its largest eruption in over 800 years.

  • Soon after midnight on 10 June 1886, people of Kaikohe, Auckland, New Plymouth, Napier and Blenheim were wakened by loud noises. They thought cannons were being fired from ships in distress offshore. People in Rotorua knew exactly what was happening. They could see fireworks blazing across the summits of the three dome-shaped hills we call Mount Tarawera. The red glow was also seen as far away as Auckland. New Zealand was experiencing its largest eruption in over 800 years.



Before 1886, the Rotorua area was well known overseas for its beautiful scenery and thermal attractions. The most popular sites were the Pink and White Terraces by the shores of Lake Rotomahana. The terraces were very popular and attracted the first tourists to New Zealand.

  • Before 1886, the Rotorua area was well known overseas for its beautiful scenery and thermal attractions. The most popular sites were the Pink and White Terraces by the shores of Lake Rotomahana. The terraces were very popular and attracted the first tourists to New Zealand.



Rotorua was the only settlement of any size at the time and was where most Europeans lived. There were many Maori villages around the district. Te Wairoa was the largest and also had a few European homes, boarding houses, churches and a school.

  • Rotorua was the only settlement of any size at the time and was where most Europeans lived. There were many Maori villages around the district. Te Wairoa was the largest and also had a few European homes, boarding houses, churches and a school.



Te Wairoa was the base for tourism for the Pink and White terraces. Tourists would trek from Rotorua to Te Wairoa where a Maori guide would escort them to the terraces to bathe.

  • Te Wairoa was the base for tourism for the Pink and White terraces. Tourists would trek from Rotorua to Te Wairoa where a Maori guide would escort them to the terraces to bathe.

  • It was these people in Te Wairoa who were first to experience the eruption of Tarawera on 10th June 1886.



On a map of the North Island locate the places that heard the Tarawera eruption.

  • On a map of the North Island locate the places that heard the Tarawera eruption.

  • Why was the area famous?

  • What was the nearest town of significance at the time of the Eruption?

  • What was the name of the village that catered for tourists in the area?



Tarawera is part of the Otakaina Volcanic zone which today we know as being a product of Subduction of the Indo-Australian and the Pacific Plates. Mount Tarawera’s eruption came as a surprise to many people because it doesn’t look like a volcano and it didn’t have any hot springs or craters.

  • Tarawera is part of the Otakaina Volcanic zone which today we know as being a product of Subduction of the Indo-Australian and the Pacific Plates. Mount Tarawera’s eruption came as a surprise to many people because it doesn’t look like a volcano and it didn’t have any hot springs or craters.



Activity:

  • Activity:

  • Draw a series of sketches showing the processes which caused Mount Tarawera to erupt.



12.30am Earthquakes start in Te Wairoa and Rotorua

  • 12.30am Earthquakes start in Te Wairoa and Rotorua

  • 12.30-2am Earthquakes become stronger and stronger

  • 2.10am After a very violent earthquake shock, a large eruption cloud rises 9.5km above Mt Tarawera

  • 2.30am Magma erupts from craters across Tarawera’s three summits and an eruption plume rises above Waimangu to the south-west

  • 3.20am Lake Rotomahana begins to erupt explosively, causing a massive eruption plume 11km high

  • 3.30-6am Eruptions and violent earthquakes continue along a 17 km line between Tarawera and Waimangu.

  • 6am-12pm Eruptions stop but earthquakes continue. Eruption clouds block out the sun and shower the land with mud and ash.





Before the eruption the crust under Tarawera began to weaken. A fault line opened up and energy-charged magma began to rise. Mud pools and geysers became more active and there were frequent earthquakes. People noticed the lakes seemed to be breathing. Lake waters rose and fell, were warmer than usual and had strange waves on calm days.

  • Before the eruption the crust under Tarawera began to weaken. A fault line opened up and energy-charged magma began to rise. Mud pools and geysers became more active and there were frequent earthquakes. People noticed the lakes seemed to be breathing. Lake waters rose and fell, were warmer than usual and had strange waves on calm days.



The Tarawera eruption had a dramatic impact of landforms, water features, native vegetation and thermal areas.

  • The Tarawera eruption had a dramatic impact of landforms, water features, native vegetation and thermal areas.



The most dramatic changes were close to Mount Tarawera. A line if craters 17km long had been blasted across Mount Tarawera, Lake Rotomahana and the Waimangu thermal area.

  • The most dramatic changes were close to Mount Tarawera. A line if craters 17km long had been blasted across Mount Tarawera, Lake Rotomahana and the Waimangu thermal area.



Other changes to the landscape included:

  • Other changes to the landscape included:

  • A temporary lake formed by a dam of ash and rock

  • The steaming Rotomahana crater had a new small hot-water lake

  • The Pink and White terraces were destroyed

  • Scoria, ash and mud lay up to 3m thick close to the craters

  • Ash falls coated the north-eastern North Island



Native forests and scrublands close to Tarawera were burned by fireballs and smothered under meters of ash

  • Native forests and scrublands close to Tarawera were burned by fireballs and smothered under meters of ash

  • Soils were buried under infertile layers of volcanic ash which made it difficult for plants to recover.

  • The Tikitapu bush was destroyed.



Lakes and rivers were dammed and heavily polluted with ash

  • Lakes and rivers were dammed and heavily polluted with ash

  • Massive drainage changes in Lake Rotomahana Basin

  • Rivers disappeared and new channels developed

  • Many new hot springs, boiling rivers, geysers and mud pools appeared after the eruption and existing ones because more active



Activity:

  • Activity:

  • Draw a sketch of Mount Tarawera and annotate it with the effects the eruption had on the land.



In the first terrifying hours, people concentrated on survival.

  • In the first terrifying hours, people concentrated on survival.

  • Mr McRae, hotel keeper at Te Wairoa:

  • “A storm appeared to be coming on, and shortly after what seemed to be heavy hailstones came pouring on the roof. This was succeeded by heavy stones, fireballs and mud, the lava falling after the manner of rain. The weight of these substances upon the room soon began to tell upon it. The roof of the hotel gave way about half past four am with a loud smash, and the whole of the upper storey collapsed, the debris pouring into the rooms below. Te back part of the house gave way next, and all of a sudden we heard a fearful crash and roar as thousands of tons of stuff were falling, and we heard the balcony come down. There was a terrific gale and the fiery stones and mud still descended incessantly. Mr Brainbridge remarked that he expected to be with his maker in an hour or so”.



Explosions and ground surges destroyed Maori villages at Moura and Te Ariki. Other villages near the craters, like Te Wairoa, were thickly blanketed in ash.

  • Explosions and ground surges destroyed Maori villages at Moura and Te Ariki. Other villages near the craters, like Te Wairoa, were thickly blanketed in ash.



153 People had died (everyone in Moura and Te Ariki and a few people in Te Wairoa). The death poll would have been much higher if it were during the day when tourists were at the Pink and White terraces.

  • 153 People had died (everyone in Moura and Te Ariki and a few people in Te Wairoa). The death poll would have been much higher if it were during the day when tourists were at the Pink and White terraces.

  • Te Wairoa village was almost completely buried under 2-3m of ash. Many survived because they sheltered in the Guide Shoppe's large strongly built whare.





Throughout the devastated region, the injured were given emergency first aid. Many were carried on stretches or horse-drawn carts to the hospital and hotels in Rotorua.

  • Throughout the devastated region, the injured were given emergency first aid. Many were carried on stretches or horse-drawn carts to the hospital and hotels in Rotorua.

  • The dead were buried to prevent the spread of disease

  • The most urgent needs were clean water, food, clothing and shelter. Unfortunately there was no civil defense to co-ordinate relief efforts and no easy way of getting help from other areas.



A lot of badly injured people, visitors, women and children left the area immediately. Those who remained organised themselves so as to get essential jobs done. Emergency shelters were erected, and donated goods were distributed. Tracks were cleared, Rainwater was collected.

  • A lot of badly injured people, visitors, women and children left the area immediately. Those who remained organised themselves so as to get essential jobs done. Emergency shelters were erected, and donated goods were distributed. Tracks were cleared, Rainwater was collected.



There were severe economic problems in a region heavily dependant on tourists for wages and incomes. The major attraction of the Pink and White terraces were gone and the whole lakes district was buried in mud. Most people stayed away. Insurance did not cover ‘volcanic eruptions’; most residents faced the very expensive recovery stage without money. Many were forced to leave the district. Repairs needed to be made to the roads and bridges around the area and timber was brought in to rebuild houses, hotels and shops.

  • There were severe economic problems in a region heavily dependant on tourists for wages and incomes. The major attraction of the Pink and White terraces were gone and the whole lakes district was buried in mud. Most people stayed away. Insurance did not cover ‘volcanic eruptions’; most residents faced the very expensive recovery stage without money. Many were forced to leave the district. Repairs needed to be made to the roads and bridges around the area and timber was brought in to rebuild houses, hotels and shops.




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