White Island eruption: Rāhui lifted by iwi

The rāhui put in place after the Whakaari / White Island eruption has now been lifted by the local iwi, Ngāti Awa.

The rāhui - a temporary ritual prohibition - covered the Whakatāne, Ōhope and Ōhiwa coastlines, and Rurima, Moutohorā and Te Puia ō Whakaari islands.

"Following discussions this morning between senior Ngāti Awa kaumatua and cultural experts, the appropriate karakia (prayers) were performed by Ngāti Awa tohunga at 1pm [on Saturday], lifting the rāhui he placed in the late afternoon following the Whakaari eruption," a spokesperson says.

"Consequently, temporary prohibitions on marine activities undertaken within the Ngāti Awa rohe moana (customary coastal territory) - including fishing and the gathering of seafood - have now been removed."

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa would like to acknowledge residents, visitors and the general public for their respect and support of the rāhui.

Seventeen people are confirmed to have died as a result of the Whakaari / White Island eruption.

Two other victims, Hayden Marshall-Inman and Winona Langford, remain missing. It is presumed that the bodies of the local tour guide and Australian teenager were washed out to sea.

Police say extensive shoreline and aerial searches from east of White Island to north of Cape Runaway have been carried out but have failed to find them.