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The world famous Pink and White Terraces were known as the eighth wonder of the natural world and were the most known attraction at that time. Unfortunately they were destroyed by a volcanic eruption on the 10th June 1886, at 3:00 am from Mt Tarawera. The volcano violently erupted, spewing out mud and boulders and huge black ash clouds. Several hours later, the lake floor of of Lake Rotomahana exploded and buried the Maori villages of Moura and Te Ariki under a deep layer of liquid mud, stones, and ash.
The Mount Tarawera eruption was New Zealand's most violent and destructive volcanic eruption in recent history. Mount Tarawera is 30 kilometres from Rotorua amidst the North Island's volcanic- thermal region. This eruption caused approximately 153 deaths.
The explosions were heard as far away as Auckland to the North and Christchurch in the South. Many thought the sound was a ship in distress, whilst many in the Manawatu region believed that the visiting Vestnick, (a Russian man-of-war ship) was attacking Wanganui. In Rotorua, no one was in any doubt as to what was happening.
Tourists who visited the Pink and White Terraces often commented that they would never see them again. This of course was mainly due to their inaccessibility, but was also because some felt that they were too beautiful for this world.