A group aboard one of the White Island Tours boats got to see the volcano erupt from a mile and a half away this morning.

White Island Tours marketing manager Patrick O'Sullivan said the skipper of the tour boat realised there was more activity than usual and headed to the crater side of the island.

"They were parked a safe distance away and watched the eruption. Those on board could see a small amount of ash and rock in the eruption but within 10 minutes things were back to normal out there," Mr O'Sullivan said.

While the passengers would not be taking the guided tour over the island, the boat was staying out at sea while they had their lunch and went on a scenic sea tour.


"There's always something exciting to see out there."
Mr O'Sullivan said it was almost a year since the last time White Island recorded a small scale eruption although there had definitely been raised activity during the past 12 months.

"In January this year we saw more of that raised activity although the island has been pretty quiet since then."

While admitting to not being a scientist, Mr O'Sullivan said he believed the bouts of raised activity to be like a pressure cooker.

"The island lets of a bit of steam and then returns to its usual quiet self for a bit longer. I remember as a youngster White Island was always letting off steam."

He said it would be business as usual for White Island Tours tomorrow unless GeoNet instructed otherwise.

Clinton Naude, Regional Manager appointed for Bay Civil Defence, said activity on the island was being monitored by staff.

"What we normally do in these situations is get in touch with the tour operators then keep a close eye on what the island is trying to do," Mr Naude said.

"At this stage there is nothing causing us too much concern."