Michael Schade, whose Twitter profile says is from San Fransisco, posted a series of videos of the eruption on White Island on Monday afternoon.
In the videos, the full eruption can be seen, covering the island in a cloud of white smoke and ash.
Schade, who posted he and his family had just left the island, captured video of the aftermath, showing people being rescued from the White Island and taken back to Whakatane.
The video shows the island covered in ash, including the wreckage of a Volcanic Island Tours helicopter that was abandoned.
Around 50 people were on the island when the eruption happened, police said in a press conference on Monday evening. Five people are confirmed dead, with a number of other fatalities expected. Twenty-three people were rescued with one in critical condition.