Families and the community came together today to mark 132 years since one of the worst recorded natural disasters in New Zealand history.

Today Rotorua's Buried Village held its annual open day - the anniversary of the Mt Tarawera eruption on June 10, 1886.

Megan Naran said her family decided to head along so their three children could learn more about the disaster.

She said her two boys Ollie, 7, and Zach, 6, were interested in volcanoes and earthquakes.

Advertisement

She said the eruption was important to commemorate because it was so local.

"It's great to be able to show them more than just something in a book."

Ngati Rangitihi commemorated the 132nd anniversary of the Tarawera eruption with a sunrise karakia on the maunga this morning. Photo / Jason Wright
Ngati Rangitihi commemorated the 132nd anniversary of the Tarawera eruption with a sunrise karakia on the maunga this morning. Photo / Jason Wright

Naran said the Buried Village open day was brilliant and great for families.

"It's cost effective. I haven't been here since I was a kid, so it's nice to come back."

Zach said the Buried Village had a lot of cool things and wakas.

He said he was interested in volcanoes because they erupted and it could come out in ash.

Related articles:

ROTORUA DAILY POST
9 Jun, 2018 5:15am
3 minutes to read
ROTORUA DAILY POST
8 Jun, 2018 1:00pm
3 minutes to read
ROTORUA DAILY POST
9 Jun, 2018 5:21am
2 minutes to read
ROTORUA DAILY POST
8 Jun, 2018 1:35am
3 minutes to read

Ollie said he liked the Buried Village because it taught you about villages.

He said he was interested in volcanoes because eruptions did not happen often and lava could explode.

General manager Mike Gibbons said the open day had been buzzing, and by halfway through the day he thought about 400 people had come through.

Zach Naran, 6, (left) and Ollie Naran enjoy looking at everything the museum has to offer. Photo / Ben Fraser
Zach Naran, 6, (left) and Ollie Naran enjoy looking at everything the museum has to offer. Photo / Ben Fraser

The open day is also a fundraiser for a local cause, with year's recipient being St Chads Charitable Trust.

"We think we are going to raise some really great money for them."

Gibbons said a lot of locals enjoyed the opportunity to go out to the village, as in their busy lives they did not have that opportunity to see some of the local attractions.

The open day included a treasure hunt, colouring competition and games for the children, as well as a kapa haka performance.

Gibbons said he enjoyed listening to some of the stories people came through with.

"People enjoy looking at old, black and white photos to see if they can see their grandparents."

He said earlier this morning people of Tūhourangi stopped by the Buried Village as part of their commemorations.

Today, Tūhourangi marked the anniversary of the eruption with a karakia at Te Wairoa carpark on the edge of Lake Tarawera.

Tūhourangi kaumatua Anaru Rangiheuea said it was wonderful even though it was cold, and there were speeches by different elders.

He said a second service was held at Whakarewarewa, where people had photos on display of loved ones who were killed in the eruption.

"There were a lot of old pictures and family members. It was great to have those families recognised and remembered. It turned out lovely."

On Saturday three screenings of the Rotorua Stories Movie, which takes viewers into the heart of Te Wairoa, were held at the Rotorua Library.

The eruption of Mount Tarawera remains one of New Zealand's worst recorded natural disasters.

More than 120 people died and entire villages disappeared forever.

People from Te Arawa lived near the mountain, with Tūhourangi holding power over the
Tarawera lakes district, including the terraces of Rotomahana.

Before the eruption the Pink and White Terraces, a major tourist attraction once described as the "Eighth Wonder of the World", had drawn people from all over the world to Tarawera.

The terraces were destroyed during the eruption, along with the livelihoods of nearby tribes which relied on the visitor trade.