Before 10 June Eruption
Humans from all around the world would come in crowds to see the legendary Pink and White Terraces – once named the 8th wonder of the world. Although it was a long journey, they couldn’t get enough of what they saw making this area a tourism “hot spot” so, in 1873, hotels were built to house the visitors coming near and far, it has been estimated that the annual income for village residents reached £4000 each during these times. The Eruption
In the early hours of 10 June, people awoke to earthquakes, lighting, and fountains of molten lava and columns of smoke and ash that rose as high as 10 km. The eruption lasted six hours and caused enormous destruction with approximately 120 people losing their life. 17 km - long rift split Mt Tarawera continued as far as Waimangu, covering the land with millions of tonnes of ash and debris, an entire village was buried known today as the buried village which is a popular tourist attraction. Lakes were changed, bushes were crushed and a new geothermal valley was created with the eruption of Mt Tarawera being recorded the largest in New Zealand where the roar of the eruption could be heard as far as Christchurch!
The legend of Mt Tarawera – The Phantom Canoe
The story begins in the eerie shadow of Mt Tarawera, with its “burnt peak” where the mountain casts a ghostly shadow in the wintry sun. Despite the eeriness of that morning, the accounts from eyewitnesses aboard the tourist vessel were all clear and consistent.
"The watchers had no difficulty in discerning the phantom craft's double row of occupants, one row paddling and the other standing wrapped in flax robes, their heads bowed and, according to Maori eyewitnesses, their hair plumed as for death with the feathers of the huia and the white heron. To the terrified Maori aboard the tourist vessel, these were the souls of the departed being ferried to the mountain of the dead. But all local Maori knew there was no war canoe on the lake, and no such craft, ever existed. If not for multiple eyewitness accounts and evidence, the story of the phantom canoe would have remained just another story of embellishment or legend." --- Ronald Jones
Tarawera Today Today, Lake Tarawera is oneof 18 clean and pristine lakes in the Rotorua region among charming scenery and lies underneath the remarkable Mount Tarawera itself. Several walking tracks surround lake Tarawera, including the spectacular Tarawera Falls, plunging 65 meters down the cliff face that was believed to be shaped from the poring larva of the Tarawera eruption.