The siblings of Karla Mathews - one of the victims of the eruption at Whakaari / White Island - have released a statement following the recovery of their sister's body from the island this week.

Nicola Mathews and Kirk Mathews Bowden said they had recently received confirmation that their "beloved sister Karla", 32, had been positively identified as one of those recovered from the volcano.

The family of Karla Mathews have released a statement saying they are
The family of Karla Mathews have released a statement saying they are "absolutely heartbroken" at her loss. Photo / Supplied

"Our family is absolutely heartbroken and our big sister will be incredibly missed.

"We have an enormous sense of relief that she has finally been found.

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"We would like to take this moment to express our deep gratitude to both the New Zealand and Australian governments for everything they have done for our family this past week.

"We would like to especially thank the New Zealand Police for their unwavering efforts towards reuniting all families with their lost loved ones."

They asked for their privacy to be respected as they grieved the loss of their "beautiful sister".

Mathews' partner Richard "Rick" Elzer, 32, was also among those killed. The pair are to be brought home to Australia together.

'THEY WERE TOGETHER WHEN THEY PASSED'

Elzer's family was only given official confirmation of his death moments before a minute of silence was observed one week after the tragedy.

They were on board HMNZS Wellington - looking towards Whakaari/White Island - on December 16 when their son and brother's death was officially confirmed.

A statement from the Elzer family was released via the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs that night.

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"Words cannot describe how honoured we feel to have had this minute's silence blessed with a traditional karakia followed by the Navy crew performing a haka as we looked upon Whakaari.

"It has brought our family great relief to know that Rick was with the love of his life, Karla Mathews, at the time of the eruption and that they were together when they passed.

Rick Elzer, 32, has been confirmed among those killed in the Whakaari / White Island eruption. Photo / Supplied
Rick Elzer, 32, has been confirmed among those killed in the Whakaari / White Island eruption. Photo / Supplied

"Together with Karla's family, we will now be able to bring them home."

'OUR HEARTS ARE WITH YOU'

The family had a special message for those still waiting to hear news of their loved ones.

"To the families who still await confirmation that their loved one has passed and to those injured in the eruption - our hearts are with you."

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They thanked the NZ Police and Navy for their work in the search and recovery of victims; as well as Australian authorities and the Royal Caribbean cruise line for their continued support of them.

"We especially want to thank the Ngāti Awa peoples of Whakatāne who have welcomed us so warmly into their community and nurtured us through this time of grief. We are whānau now."

TWO BODIES REMAIN MISSING:

Efforts to find two remaining Whakaari/White Island bodies have been hampered by poor weather this week.

A Police Eagle helicopter left the mainland about 5.45am on Tuesday to carry out another aerial search of Whakaari/White Island, but was forced to turn back.

"Conditions are being assessed to determine the viability of a second attempt by Eagle or a shoreline search by [a] boat later this morning," police said.

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Weather on Wednesday remained poor but police plan to return at first light on Thursday, weather permitting.

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The couple had been travelling with a friend - Jason Griffiths, 33 - and were passengers on the Ovation of the Seas cruise ship.

Australian tourists Jason Griffiths, Karla Mathews and Richard Rick Elzer were all passengers on the Ovation of the Seas cruise ship. Photo / Supplied
Australian tourists Jason Griffiths, Karla Mathews and Richard Rick Elzer were all passengers on the Ovation of the Seas cruise ship. Photo / Supplied

Griffiths was also among the dead, after dying from his injuries in hospital.

Mathews' family released a statement earlier this week revealing that she was one of six people whose bodies were recovered from Whakaari/White Island last Friday.

"Our family is absolutely heartbroken and our big sister will be incredibly missed.

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"We have an enormous sense of relief that she has finally been found and we patiently wait with the Elzer family for news of Karla's partner Rick so we are able to bring them home together."

The Mathews family thanked both New Zealand and Australian authorities for their help and work to help all families involved and affected by last week's eruption.

"We would like to especially thank the New Zealand Police for their unwavering efforts towards reuniting all families with their lost loved ones."