Researchers ‘zeroed in’ on location of pink and white terraces

Long Lunch 10/07/2018

New Zealand's mystical lost natural wonder, the pink and white terraces, may not be completely lost after all.

A lost 1859 survey of the pink and white terraces was uncovered in 2015 and sent to researcher Rex Bunn. The survey contained information and observations on the terraces before the eruption of Mt Tarawera.

The terraces were located on the shores of Lake Rotomahana, south of Rotorua, before the 1886 eruption. Dubbed the eighth wonder of the world, the pink and white terraces were New Zealand’s top tourist attraction before vanishing.

Mr Bunn told RadioLIVE’s Wendyl Nissen that it’s been long thought that the natural wonder was lost in the lake following the eruption.

Using the 1959 survey, Mr Bunn and a team of researchers set to retrace the information with the geography in and around Lake Rotomahana.

“We’ve zeroed in on the terrace location as they were in the morning of the [Mt Tarawera] eruption…” Mr Bunn said.

According to his research, Mr Bunn believes parts of the white terrace are buried underground which could possibly be excavated.

“I believe we’ve gotten as close as humanly possible to get to the terrace location, particularly for the white terrace.”

“If it’s there, even in part, it’s going to be impossible to miss.”

But an excavation is not guaranteed, as Mr Bunn points out, with the next steps being ultimately up to the land owners. Even if approval was sought out, he believes the process would inevitably take years.

“We all have to respect the traditional land owners there.”

It's estimated the terraces were formed over 600 years after an eruption in 1314.

Listen to the full interview with Rex Bunn above.

The Long Lunch with Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.