Volcanism in New Zealand has been responsible for many of the country's geographical features, especially in the North Island, but has also claimed many lives. While the land's volcanic history dates back to before the Zealandia microcontinent rifted away from Gondwana, activity continues today with minor eruptions occurring every few years. This recent activity is due to the country's position on the boundary between the Indo-Australian and Pacific Plates, a part of the Pacific Ring of Fire.
New Zealand's rocks record examples of almost every kind of volcanism observed on Earth, including some of the world's largest eruptions in geologically recent times.
Over six hours on June 10 1886, Mount Tarawera erupted, spewing ash and debris over 16,000 km2, destroying the Pink and White Terraces, and three villages, including Te Wairoa, and claiming the lives of at least 153 people. Approximately 2 cubic kilometres of tephra was erupted.