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White Island (Whakaari)

White Island (Whakaari)




“Maori mythology says that back in the times when mountains walked, talked, loved and fought, two sister mountains, Whakaari (White Island) and Motuhora (Whale Island) lived on the Huiarau Range.


One night they broke away and pushed down to the sea they had always wanted to visit. As they went Whakaari gouged the bed of the Whakatane River, and Motouhora, being tall and slim, formed the narrow gorges of the Waimana River.

Feeling hungry, the plump Whakaari sent her sister to find food while she kindled a fire. Suddenly Whakaari saw the first flush of dawn and, knowing that when the sun's rays touched her they would transfix her to the spot forever, she fled out to sea. Motuhora returned to find her sister gone.

Furious, she picked up a blazing log and chased after her. The sun's rays caught the pair before Motuhora could reach her sister, and with all her remaining strength she hurled the blazing log at Whakaari. So it was that fire came to the volcano and so it is that Motuhora (Whale Island) is much closer to shore.

Māori called the island Te Puia O Whakaari meaning ‘that which can be made visible’ - referring to the way the island disappeared and reappeared from behind the plumes of smoke and steam.

Captain Cook, the first European to sight the island, named White Island after the same white cloud. However, Cook did not go close enough to see that it was a volcano.


Scientists and volcanologists worldwide are attracted by the volcano’s unique features. Walking on White Island is like walking on the moon. Virtually no vegetation survives the harsh acidic environment inside the crater walls where beds of yellow and white sulphur crystals grow amongst hissing, steaming, bubbling fumaroles.


Limited edition archival canvas prints are available.

Archival prints are stretched on a wooden frame.


Size: 720mm x 720mm.


Global shipping costs will vary, the value of costs will appear in your shopping cart once delivery location is entered.


All costs are in New Zealand dollars.


If you have any questions please click here and make contact.

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