Whakaari survivor Kelsey Waghorn has shared photos of her recovery online two months on from the disaster.

Waghorn has undergone more than a dozen surgeries, with skin grafts to her arms, legs, hands and lower back, with some touch ups on her upper arms.

One picture shows the 25-year-old's arm and a patchwork of skin grafts and scar tissue.

Whakatāne tour guide Kelsey Waghorn was on the active volcano when it blew. Photo / Supplied
Whakatāne tour guide Kelsey Waghorn was on the active volcano when it blew. Photo / Supplied

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A sliver of her tattoo peeks out from underneath the burned skin.

"I planned this tattoo for two years," the caption read.

"I got it the morning of the Foo Fighters concert in 2018 and was in love with it.
I was always asked "what is your tattoo?" I guess that question will now be "what was your tattoo?"

She joked she will need a touch-up in a few years.

Waghorn said she spent Christmas Day bundled up in bandages, but with the ones she loves.

The guide awoke in hospital to full thickness burns to 45 per cent of her body.

She'd spent 10 days in ICU, five of those in an induced coma after the island spewed ash, steam and toxic gas on December 9.

NZ Herald were in the air in the hours after the dramatic eruption of White Island and captured stunning footage of NZ's most active volcano. Video / Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust / George Novak

Twenty-one people were killed when the volcano blew, among them Waghorn's colleagues Hayden-Marshall Inman and Tipene Maangi.

Earlier this week, Waghorn told The Rock she didn't remember the "gnarly stuff".

"My family, they didn't have that luxury of being doped up to the eyeballs for the first 10 days," she said.

"I skipped through all of that. I don't remember all the really gnarly stuff. I don't remember almost dying several times in surgery and being on life support."

She remains in Hutt Valley Hospital.

"I am slowly regaining the use of both of my hands - my right is worse than my left. But I'm working on that every day," she wrote in a recent update on her Givealittle page.


"Everything is healing twice as fast as anyone predicted, and although I have my moments, I am proud of the huge progress I have made.

"I'm covered in scars and relocated skin, and that's okay with me."

View this post on Instagram

Christmas Day 2019

A post shared by Kelsey Waghorn (@kezzelsify) on

She's had skin grafts described to her as a "big biological plaster," she told The Rock.

"So I'll never sweat, I won't grow hair from there, my body won't exude oil through my skin normally."

But learning to walk again was a mission in itself, she said.

"For the next two years [I'm] going to have to do rehab and physio and obviously watch what I knock into and stuff like that, because my skin's very thin."


Another post pays tribute to colleague Hayden Marshall-Inman, who was lost at sea.

"Of all people, I never dreamed it would ever be you ... Look after those who step into Whakaari like you taught so many of us crew to do."

Waghorn said she cried when she saw how much had been donated to her Givealittle page, where donations now soar over $100,000.

"Once again, thank you thank you thank you to everyone for their donations, their kind words, their time and hard work," a recent update said.

"I wouldn't be here without you."