Whakaari/White Island survivor Kelsey Waghorn says she "almost scoffed" when she was told she'd have to learn to walk again after the disaster.

But after the devastating eruption left her with full-thickness burns to 45 per cent of her body, she "literally had to teach" her body to walk again.

A video posted on Waghorn's social media shows her walking, aided by a walking frame.

"When they told me 'you'll have to learn to walk again' I almost scoffed," she captioned the post.


"'I've been walking 20 something years, thank you, my body and I have got this. We might be weak and small at the moment, but once that strength comes back, no 'learning' will be required.

"Boy was I wrong."

"If you've had skin grafts to your extremities (or even if you've been in bed 20 something days), when your blood vessels all of a sudden have to increase that blood pressure as you go from horizontal to (semi) vertical, they don't tend to keep up initially - cue the plum-purple hands and feet. 'Zombie arms' I used to call them.

Waghorn spent 10 days in ICU, five of those in an induced coma after the island spewed ash, steam and toxic gas on December 9.

She's has undergone more than a dozen surgeries, with skin grafts to her arms, legs, hands and lower back, with some touch ups on her upper arms.

Kelsey Waghorn has shared a video of herself walking as she recovers from the Whakaare / White Island eruption. Photo / Supplied
Kelsey Waghorn has shared a video of herself walking as she recovers from the Whakaare / White Island eruption. Photo / Supplied

Twenty-one people were killed when the volcano blew, among them Waghorn's colleagues Hayden-Marshall Inman and Tipene Maangi.

"Nowadays, my skin stays that pink-white I got mocked for in high school, and I couldn't be happier," she said.

The 25-year-old told The Rock she burst into tears when she saw that thousands of dollars had been donated towards her recovery.


"I cried my eyes out when I saw it," Waghorn told The Rock.

"And I read it as nine grand and it was 94 [grand]."

Her Givealittle page now tops $113,000.

Recently, Waghorn shared a picture of her legs wrapped in "tubigrips".

"If I manage to stop falling over, I can ditch the bandages and tubigrips for some rather tight compression garments, which I'll get the pleasure of wearing for up to two years," she wrote.

"I'm covered in scars and relocated skin, and that's okay with me," she wrote in a recent update.

"Everything is healing twice as fast as anyone predicted, and although I have my moments, I am proud of the huge progress I have made."

NZ Herald were in the air moments after the dramatic eruption of White Island and captured stunning footage of NZ's most active volcano. Video / Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust / George Novak