The Okataina Volcanic Centre includes Tarawera, source of the most lethal eruption in New
Zealand's recorded history.
The Okataina Volcanic Centre extends from Lake Rotoma in the north to Waiotapu in the south.
It includes the large, young volcanoes of Tarawera and Haroharo, with others at Okareka and
Rotoma. More than 35 vents have been active at Okataina during the last 21,000 years.
Most Recent Eruption
- June 1886
- The 1886 eruption is the most lethal to have occurred in New Zealand’s
recorded history. Rumblings from the Tarawera eruption were heard as far south
as Blenheim, in the South Island. During the eruption a series of large explosions
opened up a rift 17 km long, which expelled ash and rocks for a few hours.
When hot magma came into contact with Lake Rotomahana, huge explosions covered
the region with mud and ash up to one metre deep and many buildings collapsed.
Three villages were buried under hot heavy ash and mud and 108 people killed,
the Māori village of Te Wairoa, its Pa and whares were completely buried. The
Pink and White Terraces, considered one of the great natural wonders of the world
were also destroyed.