Whakaari/White Island’s status as the Whakatāne District’s iconic tourist attraction has been highlighted in a stunning new exhibit at the Whakatane i-SITE.


Deputy Mayor Judy Turner opened the Whakaari room at the Whakatāne Information Centre last night (Thursday) and the exhibit won immediate praise from all in attendance.


Featuring an amazing, steam-emitting scale model (created by local enthusiast Glenn Reid); a superb documentary video; and a series of interpretation panels explaining the fascinating geology, history and cultural significance of the island, the exhibit provides locals and visitors with a foretaste of Whakaari – and encourages them to experience the real thing.


“This room was designed to give people a better understanding of the experience on offer, the history of Whakaari and of its rich cultural associations with Ngāti Awa,” Judy said. “The island is one of New Zealand’s top-10 tourist attractions and this exhibit will highlight the role it plays in anchoring our regional tourism industry.


“Until now, the eastern Bay of Plenty has not been part of the main tourist trail – more of a detour. In conjunction with iwi and the wider industry, we’re working hard to change that and I have no doubt that this wonderful exhibit will whet the appetite of anyone who has yet to experience the wonders of Whakaari.”