A partially completed investigation by the Department of Conservation (DoC) following the fall and subsequent death of Lionel Nowell on Moutohorā Island earlier this month has determined the condition of the walking track was appropriate.

Nowell was seriously injured after falling while walking on Moutohorā as part of a White Island Tours guided tour group on April 4.

He was airlifted from the island but died the next day.

Investigations were launched by White Island Tours Ltd, DoC, which administers Moutohorā Island and its tracks, and WorkSafe NZ.


Whakatāne DoC senior ranger community Mike Jones said while the organisation's investigation was not fully complete, the investigation into the track conditions and standard was.

"We have concluded it was of an appropriate track standard and had been maintained at that standard," Jones said.

As a result, the island was re-opened for tours after being suspended after the incident.

However, White Island Tours marketing member Danielle Goodall said the company was not yet offering tours of Moutohorā.

"While our internal investigation is ongoing we will not be taking tours out to Moutohorā Island," Goodall said. "We will make an announcement when the tours begin again."

She said the investigation had been an opportunity to review operations and if changes needed to happen, they would be implemented once the investigation was complete.

Diveworks Charters, the only other company permitted to take people walking over the Moutohorā tracks, is operational.

A WorkSafe spokeswoman said its investigation was ongoing and could take up to a year.