Wednesday Dec 9 th marked the one-year anniversary of the volcanic eruption on White Island that killed 22 people and injured many more.
The eruption on White Island, also known by its Maori name of Whakaari, left nearly all survivors struggling with severe and long-term injuries.
“In a nation that has experienced so much pain and loss in recent times, 9th December 2019 was devastating,” Prime Minister Ardern said at a commemoration event in Whakatane, a town close to the island.
There were 47 people on the island when the volcano erupted at 2.11pm, exploding twice in quick succession and spewing plumes of ash up to 12,000 feet into the air.
The majority were tourists who were on the Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas cruise ship that was travelling around New Zealand.
The volcano, which had been marketed as “the world’s most accessible active marine volcano”, had shown signs of unrest for several weeks before the eruption.
New Zealand’s workplace regulator last month filed charges against 13 parties, who it said had not met health and safety obligations in taking the tourists to White island. The island has been shut to tourists since the eruption.