The eruption of Mount Tarawera

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Tono kōrero mai

Originally broadcast on the 68th anniversary of the eruption of Mount Tarawera [10th June 1886.]

Mr Willy Bennett, aged 80 of Rotorua, gives a personal account of the eruption of Mt Tarawera. He is interviewed by a male announcer (possibly Alf Sanft of station 1YZ Rotorua.)

He was 12 years old at the time, working for Te Wairoa store keeper Jack Falloona who was managing the store which was owned by Bennett's uncle, Charlie Rogers.

He describes the mountain and The Pink and White Terraces prior to the eruption. He also worked as a tour guide taking tourists up Mt Tarawera.

He tells of his memories of horror and turmoil, the escape from the volcanic eruption and the accompanying earthquakes. He and a party began to walk to Ohinemutu [Rotorua] but he became scared and refused to go on, so they turned back and sheltered in Guide Sophia's whare. The people in the whare survived, but he was sad to lose his pet pig in the disaster.

After the ash and rock fall stopped he walked to Ohinemutu and believes he was the first person to reach the town from Te Wairoa after the eruption, and a large crowd gathered around him to hear news of the disaster.

He describes the changes to the landscape of the region and the new thermal areas such as Waimangu which appeared afterwards. He talks about the changes to the lifestyle of local Maori iwi in the area.

He ends with, "I am lucky to be here to tell the tale and the question that I and many others are asking is, will there be another Tarawera?"

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Year 1954

Reference number 31288

Media type AUDIO

Collection Sound Collection

Credits Bennett, Willy, 1874 -1959, Speaker/Kaikōrero
Sanft, Alf, Interviewer
1YZ (Radio station : Rotorua, N.Z.)
New Zealand Broadcasting Service (estab. 1946, closed 1962), Broadcaster

Duration 00:17:14

Date 10 Jun 1954