The whānau of a 23-year-old White Island tour guide who was working yesterday when it erupted are “scared” they’ve lost their family’s “entertainer”.
Tipene Maangi was not supposed to be working yesterday according to other family members but he was always happy to do extra shifts after starting the job with White Island Tours in September.
His family and friends gathered in Whakatāne today, waiting for any news on Mr Maangi, one of eight people missing on White Island.
His father cried as he stood by the police cordon and looked out to the island, RNZ reports.
Despite flights over the island not finding any signs of life, Mr Maangi’s family were not giving up hope.
“We love you Tip, we’re waiting for you to pop up behind one of those rocks,” his aunties, Ronnie and Jacqueline, told TVNZ1's Te Karere.
They said the family had no option but to stay strong.
“No doubt, we’re scared and we are emotional and some of us do want to fall apart. It’s not really an option. We’ve got to stay strong,” they said.
“He’s only 23, 24 in January, really mature for his age.
“He was the entertainer. He’s a very confident young man, very outspoken.”