Today students from a local school dressed in the clothes worn 130 years ago and spent the day commemorating the 130 year anniversary of the eruption of Tarawera.

Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Te Koutu visited the Buried Village of Te Wairoa then walked from Puarenga to the City Focus, where they performed a couple of waiata, before walking on to Ohinemutu.

Teacher Tiahomarama Fairhall said she thought it was an important event for the school to commemerate as "a lot of us descended from those who survived".

She said it was also important to remember those who passed, "and to remember our heritage and history".


She said they did a karakia at the Buried Village, next to the house of Tuhoto Ariki, the high priest of the time, who was buried in the house for four to five days before he was found.

The group then made their way into town and from there Ohinemutu. After the eruption the survivors made their way to Ohinemutu where the people of Ngati Whakaue fed and housed them, Whaea Fairhall said.

She said the school was reenacting the steps of the survivors, and had also made 118 food baskets.

"We will be eating potatoes, kumara and soup - the food provided to the survivors at the time."

The whole school took part and had previously studied the event in class.

"I do think it's very important that Rotorua, as a whole, should know about it, because it's a part of our history, but especially important to the tribes of Tuhourangi, Ngati Hinemihi and Ngati Rangitihi."

Student Maia Maurea Pirini-Werahiko, 14, said one of her favourite parts of the day had been the walk, "because we are doing what our ancestors did".

It was also fun dressing up in the clothes of those days, she said.