TODAY |

Watch: The history behind White Island, NZ's most active volcano

1 NEWS looks at the history of White Island, which has been a source of wonder and danger over the decades.

Your playlist will load after this ad

The volcano has claimed lives before. Source: 1 NEWS

Sulphur mining began on the island in the 1840s, with the constant risk of eruption, toxic gases and unstable ground.

Ten miners died in 1914 when the crater wall collapsed.

However, the mining didn't stop there until 1933.

Since then, visitors and scientists have continued to visit the active volcano.

By the 90s, a boat tour operator emerged and two years ago, Ngāti Awa took on the business handling 17,000 visitors a year.

After Monday's tragedy, whether people will ever get to visit again is a question nowhere near being answered.