White Island eruption: Ngāti Awa speak out one month after tragedy

White Island eruption: Ngāti Awa speak out one month after tragedy
Photo credit: Westpac

The iwi who owned White Island Tours has spoken out one month after the tragedy that killed 19 people.

In a statement released on Thursday, Ngāti Awa said December 9 is a day that will linger long in their memory as they remember those who died as a result of the volcano's eruption.

"We continue to grieve with those who lost loved ones. Although there is little that can soothe such unfathomable pain, it is with heartfelt aroha and compassion we offer you our shelter, our tears and our embrace.

"Our thoughts also remain with those who were injured so terribly in the eruption and pray that their wounds - both physical and emotional - will heal swiftly and completely, in the hope they will eventually return to the lives they enjoyed before the tragedy."

Ngāti Awa also thanked everyone who "selflessly exhausted" their time into the emergency response and recovery mission, including the community, medical professionals and agencies who stood along with them and the wider Whakatāne community.

They said their focus remains on the wellbeing of their guests, staff and bereaved families who continue to display "immense strength and courage".

Along with the 19 people who have died, 26 remain in hospitals across New Zealand and Australia, with some fighting for their lives. Two people are missing, but are presumed dead.