White Island eruption as it happened: New Zealand remembers victims one week on

The Police Dive Squad will be out again on Monday searching for the two remaining bodies off Whakaari/White Island.

Monday marks a week since the eruption disaster that's claimed at least 16 lives.

At 2:11pm, there was a nationwide minute of silence to remember the victims.

What you need to know:

  • White Island/Whakaari erupted at 2:11pm on Monday.
  • The death toll stands at 16. 
  • Fourteen people remain in New Zealand hospitals - 10 of whom are critical. Thirteen people have been transferred to Australia.
  • The New Zealand Defence Force carried out an operation on Friday morning and recovered six bodies from the island. Attempts to recover the remaining two are continuing.

These live updates have now finished. More on Newshub at 4:30pm and 6pm.

3:18pm - Meanwhile, tourism businesses are feeling the affects of the tragedy. 

Owner of Club Talk Charters, Mick, says it's been challenging.

"We've had a few people that have cancelled, but most people have been postpoing their trip - just out of respect for the people that have been affected," he told Newshub.

3:16pm - National condolence books for the victims of the eruption have been opened for the public. 

The books will be housed at the main public entrance at Parliament, and in the foyer of the National Library in Wellington. 

The Department of Internal Affairs says the books offer an opportunity to express grief and convey compassion.

 2:59pm - Colin Magee from Whakatane radio station One Double X says emergency services observed the minute's silence from the Whakatane Boat Ramp.

"There were police, fire [and] ambulance crews," he says. "There was a balloon release. It was very moving; nothing was said.

"It was quite something to experience."

2:54pm - An Australian couple on the Ovation of the Seas Cruise ship planned to tour the island on the day it erupted, but couldn't as the tour was booked out.

"We were really lucky because if it hadn't sold out we would've been on that tour," Sydney man Greg Fawkner told The Australian, after arriving back in Sydney with his wife Michelle on Monday.

2:48pm - GNS Science senior volcano geophysicist Craig Miller says a vent on the White Island is producing gas that could spread to Whakatane and Opotiki.

Miller told Newshub wet weather will do a good job of washing out the gas before it reaches the mainland.

It was expected to be most cloudy with occasional heavy showers in Whakatane on Monday.

2:36pm - Passengers on the Ovation of the Seas cruise ship have spoken of being traumatised following the ordeal.

The ship arrived back in Sydney early Monday.

One passenger told 7 News that cruise ship staff did not provide enough information in the aftermath of the tragedy.

"We didn't know how many people were missing," the unnamed man said.

The ship after it returned to Sydney on Monday.
The ship after it returned to Sydney on Monday. Photo credit: Getty

2:31pm - Both MediaWorks (TV3) and TVNZ (TV1) took a minute of silence to remember the victims.

2:29pm - The US embassy in New Zealand observed the minute's silence.

2:21pm - The flag at Australia's parliament was also brought to half mast to remember the victims.

2:14pm - People throughout the country have just observed a minute of silence to remember the victims of the disaster.

2:11pm - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the minute of silence was a moment people could stand alongside those who had lost loved ones.

2:07pm - The New Zealand and Australia flags at the Beehive are at half mast.

White Island eruption as it happened: New Zealand remembers victims one week on
Photo credit: Newshub/Jenna Lynch

2:00pm - People are gathering in Whakatane ready to mark a minute's silence for the  eruption victims.

1:58pm - Volcanic tremor on the island remains at Level two.

GNS Science says the likelihod of another eruption will be 30 to 40 percent in the next 24 hours.

1:42pm - Hearts ache as people in New Zealand and abroad mourn the deaths of at least 16 people in the devastating volcano eruption on White Island in the Bay of Plenty last Monday.

In the wake of the tragedy, families, and friends of the victims are forced to adjust to life without those they loved most.

Read about the faces, names and identities of those who lost their lives here.

1:00pm - Newshub's Emma Cropper is in Whakatane and says it's been an unimaginable time for the town.

"The mood in Whakatane has really turned to one of shock to now grief, and today [Monday] at 2:11pm they will observe a minute of silence," she says. "It will be quite a poignant moment for the township. The last week has been such a long and heartbreaking week."

12:32pm - Those in Whakatane can observe Monday's minute's silence from Te manuka Tutahi Marae.

11:44am - Officials in Whakatane are regrouping as the search for two more victims on White Island continues.

Newshub's Emma Cropper is there and says there's no margin for error.

"We do understand that the [police] dive squad have been deployed around the perimeter of the island, still searching for those two people who are still missing."

11:34am - The names of four more victims of the eruption have been formally released by police.

Jessica Richards, 20, Jason David Griffiths, 33, Martin Berend Hollander, 48, and Kristine Elizabeth Langford, 45, all of Australia, have been formally identified.

A vigil was held in Queensland on Sunday night to remember Jessica and her mother, Julie Richards, who were confirmed dead by family and friends last week.

From left, Kristine Langford, Martin Hollander, Jason Griffiths and Jessica Richards.
From left, Kristine Langford, Martin Hollander, Jason Griffiths and Jessica Richards. Photo credit: Supplied/Social media

Griffiths was travelling in the same group as couple Karla Mathews and Richard Elzer, who were confirmed dead on Sunday.

Martin's sons, Matthew and Berend, were also confirmed dead on Sunday. Mum Barbara has yet to be identified.

Kristine was on holiday with her husband Anthony and children Winona and Jesse. Anthony was confirmed dead on Sunday.

Jesse, 19, was found alive in hospital on Tuesday and Winona, 17, remains unaccounted for.

11:15am - Ovation of the Seas passenger Joanne told AAP the situation was "dreadful".

The ship arrived in Sydney just before dawn on Monday.

"They're people, people that went on my holiday of a lifetime that I've waited 50 years for and they never got to come home," Joanne told AAP.

White Island eruption as it happened: New Zealand remembers victims one week on
Photo credit: Newshub/Emma Cropper

10:20am - There's a close-eye on the mental health of emergency service workers one week on from the eruption.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush says between the eruption and the Christchurch shooting, it's been a tough year for frontline staff.

"They are professionals but at the same time we have to give them a lot of support, because they see and do things that no other New Zealanders should have to do," Bush told Magic Talk.

Where to find help and support:



9:57am - Civil Defence says response agencies remain "deeply committed" to the goal of recovering the two remaining bodies.

"Meanwhile, the process of identifying victims and releasing bodies to their loved ones is ongoing in Auckland," a statement says.

"Police will continue to release the names of those who have died as soon as they are able to."

9:45am - An Ovation of the Seas passenger has described the dark mood on the ship following the White Island eruptuon disaster.

The ship arrived in Sydeny just before dawn on Monday. Twenty-four passengers were on the island when it erupted.

"[It was a] bit sombre," passenger Troy told Channel Nine's Today programme. "I think the captain was breaking down crying a fair bit."

9:16am - Recovery teams are doing all they can to recover those left on the island, Police Commissioner Mike Bush told Magic Talk.

Attempts to recover those remaining two bodies are continuing, he says.

"It can take days and weeks," Bush says. "We know that and we will continue our searches."

Mike Bush.
Mike Bush. Photo credit: Newshub.

9:07am - Police Commissioner Mike Bush says they won't give up on recovering the remaining two bodies.

"We will continue to search for those two people for as long as there's a possibility of finding them," he told Magic Talk's Steven McIvor.

8:58am - Robert Ovadia from 7 News says the Ovation of the Seas cruise ship arrived in Sydney just before dawn on Monday.

"[It's] a terrible time," he told Channel 7's Sunrise programme. "To have ended so terribly with 24 Australians on that island at the time [of the eruption] - is a terrible, terrible outcome."

8:52am - Newshub reporter Lisette Reymer says nationwide recognition is just what Whakatane needs.

The government has called for the country to observe a minute of silence 2:11pm, exactly a week after the volcano erupted.

"A week on feels like it could be a month ago that this started," Reymer told Magic Talk's Steven McIvor. "So much has happened and every day there's a new chapter.

"I think a lot of people are looking forward to having this moment of silence; a moment to take stock."

8:36am - Australia's Foreign Minister Marise Payne will be in New Zealand from Monday until Wednesday.

"While in Wellington, I will meet with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and my counterpart, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Winston Peters, to express our deep appreciation for the professional and quick response to the New Zealand emergency and medical services and the care they have provided to the Australian survivors of the eruption," Payne said in a statement on Sunday.

8:03am - The Ovation of the Seas Cruise Ship is now docked in Sydney, local media report.

Twenty-four people from the cruise ship went to the island last Monday.

Read more here.

7:58am - It's decision time for the specialist recovery team searching for the remaining two missing bodies on the island.

One of the two bodies is thought to be in the water, while a search on Sunday failed to find the other, which was believed to be on the island.

Newshub reporter Lisette Reymer says that's sparked a rethink on where to look.

"Whether they continue to head back out to the island to search on land for that one body; that's what they're nutting out now, or whether they're going to commit all their resources to the water search," she told Magic Talk's Steven McIvor.

7:54am - A hero pilot who rescued people in the immediate aftermath of the eruption says he may have to shut his business down.

Mark Law was one of the many selfless Kiwis who rushed to help dozens of people who were severely burned.

Law says Whakatane will be "greatly affected" by the eruption.

"We're anticipating probably damn near shutting the doors. It's going to be devastating, we've been operating that part of our business for years," he told Reuters.

Read more here.

7:38am - Newshub's Lisette Reymer told Magic Talk's Steven McIvor White Island had been the pride and joy of Whakatane.

"It's something that had always been celebrated and now it's haunted, really, by this sadness."

7:31am - Whakatane Mayor Judy Turner told Newshub some people may have a delayed reaction to the tragedy.

"I think people need to know that it's not too late at any stage if they feel the need for some additional support."

7:30am - Newshub reporter Lisette Reymer says there's been some uncertainty where the second remaining body is.

One is believed to be in the water.

7:25am - Whakatane Mayor Judy Turner says the community is holding up well following the tragedy.

She paid tribute to Ngāti Awa for their role as tangata whenua in leading and caring for victim's families.

"That's been incredibly helpful, and has made quite a difference," Turner told Newshub.

"[It's] particularly appreciated by international media and international families who were affected."

7:12am - A minute's silence will be observed on Monday for the victims of the disaster.

Police on Sunday night released more names of those killed, including 13-year-old Matthew Hollander and 16-year-old Berend Hollander, both Australian residents from the US.