White Terraces

New Zealand

Volcanic Eruption 1886

The Disappointed Tourist: White Terraces, Ellen Harvey, 2021. Oil and acrylic on Gessoboard, 18 x 24″ (46 x 61 cm). Photograph: Etienne Frossard.

The Pink and White Terraces (Reo Māori: Te Otukapuarangi) on the edge of Rotomahana were one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most famous sites before the eruption of Tarawera in the 1800s. People used to visit from all over the world to sit in the thermal pools. The tourism industry at the time showed an element of deference to the tangata whenua (indigenous people), which quickly disappeared following further colonisation by the British. Te Otukapuarangi was an example of cooperation between Tangata Tiriti (European colonisers), Tangata Whenua, and Te Taiao (environment/nature). It’s a tragedy that Rūaumoko (god of Volcanos) took back the terraces. This is why they should be cataloged in this exhibition. James S.

These beautiful natural terraces were visited and admired by Victorian tourists in New Zealand. They were considered the 8th Wonder of the World. Sadly they disappeared after a volcanic erruption in the area and are no longer evident. As a tourist myself in NZ, I was captivated by the story. Rachel G.

I think they are interesting as they are a completely natural land formation that humans didn’t get the chance to destroy as they were taken away by an act of nature before we had a chance to mess them up. Michael S.

They were considered one of the great natural wonders of the world, and popular with tourists. They were buried during the erruption of Mt Tarawera in 1886. I’ve always been fascinated by them, and devastated I would never see them, outside of the paintings by Charles Blomfield. Hayley M.

I think we must have learned about it at school. As everyone who is my age-ish from NZ desperately wishes there were still things we could go and see. They seem so magical. Kristen H.

The Pink and White Terraces (Māori:: Te Otukapuarangi, ’the Fountain of the Clouded Sky’ and Te Tarata, ‘the Tattooed Rock’), were two world-famous hydrothermal springs in New Zealand. They became the country’s most famous tourist attraction, sometimes referred to as the Eighth Wonder of the World, after Ernst Dieffenbach wrote about them in his guide to New Zealand after having visited the site in 1841. Tourists were guided first by Kate Middlemas and then by Sophia Hinerangi, also known as Te Paea, who took over as principal guide in the early 1880s. The Terraces were effectively destroyed in the 1886 eruption of Mount Tarawera. In 2011, a team mapping the lake floor discovered some of the remains of the Terraces at the bottom of Lake Rotomahana. My painting is based on a painting from 1884 by Charles Blomfield.