Mount Tarawera eruption 1886

Where can I find information about the eruption of Mount Tarawera in 1886?

Junior Secondary

(Years 7-10)

Colour painting of Mount Tarawera erupting.

Image: Mount Tarawera in eruption June 10 1886 by Charles Blomfield on Wikimedia Commons.

Entry last updated: 1/04/22


On 10 June 1886, the eruption of Mount Tarawera shook the volcanic plateau of the North Island in Aotearoa New Zealand. Ash and debris from the volcano buried villages and many people lost their lives. The eruption also destroyed the famous hot springs known as the Pink and White Terraces, once considered the eighth wonder of the world.

General websites

Here are some reliable websites with information on the eruption of Mt Tarawera and its impact on the surrounding areas, including the Pink of White Terraces.

Te Ara — The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Te Ara is an excellent starting point for all questions about Aotearoa New Zealand. If we scroll down to the bottom of the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable.

Tips: Search words, or keywords, are the most important words in our question. Usually it’s better to leave out small words like ‘the’, ‘a’ and ‘of’ and just choose the main ones, eg Tarawera. We can always change our keywords or add more if we need to.


This is another website from the Ministry for Culture & Heritage that is great for information on people, places and events in the history of Aotearoa New Zealand.

  • Enter the word 'Tarawera' into the search box and select to read Eruption of Mt Tarawera.

  • Further down the page is a link to Sophia Hinerangi (Guide Sophia) (also known as Te Paea Tīaho) who was a famous guide for the Pink and White Terraces before the eruption happened.

Tips: We like sites like this because they’re reliable. You can tell because of their web address – they have either .govt or .ac, meaning they are from government or educational organisations. They’re also New Zealand sites, so relevant for us.

Rotorua Museum

This museum is part of the Rotorua Lakes Council. It has a range of local taonga (treasures), artworks, sculptures and collections about Rotorua from the past and the present.

  • Use the keywords 'Tarawera' and 'Pink and White Terraces' separately.

  • Read Mount Tarawera which includes the history of the area before the eruption, a description of the eruption and its impact on iwi and villages nearby.

  • Go to Pink & White Terraces to read a description of this famous land feature and early tourism here.

Tips: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.

New Zealand Geographic

New Zealand Geographic is part EPIC a collection of databases put together, especially for schools.

Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

GNS Science

This is a really good site for the study of New Zealand's landforms, ocean floor, geology, fossils, and information on seismic activity like earthquakes, volcanoes, geothermal landscape and tsunamis.

Tips: Some websites have .au, .nz, .uk or other codes in their url. This can tell you which country this website comes from eg .au is from Australia or .nz is from New Zealand. You can check the ‘About Us’ link on the website for more information.

Papers Past

Papers Past is a collection of early New Zealand newspapers that have been digitised. You can search for and read articles as they appeared in the newspaper at the time.

  • Go to Newspapers and search using keywords such as 'Tarawera eruption 1886'.

  • Filter your results by date, title or type of content to find the most relevant articles.

  • Select the article Tarawera eruption forty-third anniversary.

  • If you can't see the full article, look for the link to the page number to look at the full article in the newspaper.

Sound and video

The websites below are great video and audio sources for Aotearoa New Zealand history topics.

NZ On Screen

NZ On Screen is an online showcase of Aotearoa New Zealand's television, film, music videos and series.

  • Search using the word 'Tarawera'.

  • Choose Tarawera for a five-part documentary on the eruption, the legend, the destruction it caused, stories from survivors and the villages that were buried.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Funded by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision is New Zealand’s audio-visual archive of film and television, radio and sound recordings, props, posters and more from over 120 years of New Zealand’s history.

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Check out these titles at your school library or local library:

SCIS no. 5414484

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