Just after midnight 133 years ago, a series of earthquakes shook Rotorua residents awake. Moments later Mount Tarawera spewed ash and molten lava into the air, destroying the landscape.

This weekend businesses and iwi are marking the anniversary of the June 10 eruption which killed more than 120 people and wiped out the famous Pink and White Terraces.

Today Te Aka Mauri will screen The Tarawera Eruption movie at 10.30am, noon and 2pm.

The movie used to screen in the Rotorua Museum but after its closure, it screened in the library for the first time last year.

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The annual Buried Village Open Day tomorrow and Monday allows people to enter for a gold coin and features extra family activities including a treasure hunt, art and a barbecue.

Lake Rotomahana with Mount Tarawera in the background. Photo / File
Lake Rotomahana with Mount Tarawera in the background. Photo / File

A commemoration service will be held on Monday at 10.30am.

Operations manager Amanda McGrath said the Buried Village had run the open day for 33 years.

"Sunday is about celebrating this place, what it is and also families' connection to this place. Monday is more about commemorating the tragedy of Tarawera."

This year the money raised through entry charges will be split between Big Brother Big Sister, Kai Rotorua and Ka Pai Kai.

"It's an opportunity to get in front of people that might support the service or need the service."

Ngāti Rangitihi will also be holding its annual private anniversary service on the mountain on Sunday.

"We acknowledge all those lost during the eruption, but on Sunday we will also remember those we have lost more recently," Ruawahia 2B Trust chairman Paul Warbrick said.

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"The eruption changed the landscape for Ngāti Rangitihi forever. Ngāti Rangitihi and Tuhourangi suffered the largest losses, but the eruption also bumped us from our traditional landscape. The impact of that is still with us today."

Ngāti Rangitihi during the commemoration service last year. Photo / Supplied
Ngāti Rangitihi during the commemoration service last year. Photo / Supplied

He said the anniversary was about acknowledging those losses and connecting Ngāti Rangitihi back to the whenua and the iwi's maunga.

Meanwhile, locals can catch a glimpse of what the Pink and White Terraces might have looked like at Waimangu Volcanic Valley using an augmented reality app launched last year.

Waimangu Volcanic Valley. Photo / Supplied
Waimangu Volcanic Valley. Photo / Supplied

General manager David Blackmore said the extent of the eruption was still evident.

"People have been coming to the valley in their thousands for years, even without the terraces, because of its uniqueness. But we have definitely seen renewed interest in the terraces with recent scientific research around their location.

An artist's impression of what the Pink and White Terraces might have looked like. Photo / Supplied
An artist's impression of what the Pink and White Terraces might have looked like. Photo / Supplied

"This [app] is as close to actually visiting the terraces as visitors can possibly get."

Evidence suggests the Pink and White Terraces may be buried under Lake Rotomahana. A new documentary screening on Prime TV tomorrow explores the latest evidence.

About the eruption

• Took place on June 10, 1886
• Started in early hours of the morning and lasted six hours
• Destroyed several villages and the Pink and White Terraces
• About 120 people died
• People as far away as Blenheim heard the eruption which was accompanied by earthquakes, lightning, fountains of molten rock, and columns of smoke and ash up to 10km high
- Source: NZ History