A local iwi representative says accessing the Pink & White Terraces would be "tremendous".

New research has sparked new hope of returning the terraces to public view - 131 years on from the Mt Tarawera eruption.

Researchers Rex Bunn and Dr Sascha Nolden have acknowledged the help of Te Tuhourangi Tribal Authority trustee Rangitihi Pene.

Mr Bunn initially approached Te Tuhourangi Tribal Authority in 2014 while researching the terraces and Mr Pene said they had been in communication since then.


For Mr Pene there is a direct link as his great-grandmother lived in Te Wairoa before resettling to Whakarewarewa.

"They were our introduction to the world of tourism, not just the guiding but the hotel industry," he said.

"The terraces were considered a marvel by our people, just for the colours that lit up in them."

The researchers are now preparing a full archaeological site investigation with hopes the terraces might be returned to public view.

"The events were so traumatic, to excavate the terraces over time would allow them to be a tourism attraction for the iwi once again," Mr Pene said.

Dr Nolden translated the diary of 19th century geologist Dr Ferdinand von Hochstetter which enabled Mr Bunn to plot the lost terrace locations.

The new locations have been plotted beneath land, and not under Lake Rotomahana as imagined by 19th century colonists.

The co-ordinates for the spring platforms, Te Otukapuarangi, Te Tuhi's Spring and Te Tarata appear to lie 10m to 15m underground, around the shores of the lake.

"Looking at that area, one would be under one of the trust land blocks and another would fall under the Department of Conservation," Mr Pene said.

"If we are a party in the archaeological studies, we are not the only partner," he said.

Mr Pene said the research would help to clear up once and for all whether the terraces were still there or not.