The Tarawera Eruption - Watch the Rotorua Stories movie

On 10 June 1886 Mount Tarawera erupted with the loss of more than 120 lives. Reflect on the anniversary of this eruption by watching the Rotorua Stories movie that was previously shown at Rotorua Museum. 


On Saturday 9 June the 20 minute film will be played three times in the Discovery Space on the second floor of Rotorua Library Te Aka Mauri. The sessions will be: 10am, 12pm and 2pm.  

Well-known as the 'shaky seat' cinema in the Rotorua Museum, this film hasn't been seen publicly since the Museum closed for earthquake strengthening in November 2016.  

Rotorua Stories movie will take you on a thrilling adventure, plummeting 13km into the belly of the earth to discover the scientific and mythological answers to Rotorua's volatile landscape. Visit the world famous Pink and White Terraces, encounter great Te Arawa tūpuna (ancestors), and experience a portrayal of the 1886 eruption of Mount Tarawera. 

The eruption of Mt. Tarawera remains one of the worst recorded natural disasters in New Zealand history. Over 120 people died under the ash and mud that rained down on the district on that fateful night, and entire villages disappeared forever. 

The fabulous Pink and White Terraces, a major tourist attraction once described as the "Eighth Wonder of the World", were destroyed along with the livelihoods of nearby tribes which relied on the visitor trade. 

A guest, William Bird, recalled the scene vividly: 'Lake Tarawera was a copper mirror, reflecting the mount from base to summit in a lurid glare. Dominating all, hung the great cloud-curtain, gloomy and dark above, saffron and orange on its under-surface. From the cloud, great balls of flaming rock dropped from time to time, descending with a splash into the waters of the lake.' 

All sessions are free of charge and no bookings are required, however seats are limited. 

The Discovery Space at Te Aka Mauri was made possible thanks to our Discovery Space Programmes Partner: the Wright Family Foundation. 

For further information please contact Rotorua Museum, phone 07 351 8055 or email

IMAGES: Photographs from the Rotorua Stories Movie, Rotorua Museum.

Page reviewed: 23 May 2018 7:35am