Whakaari/White Island Volcano Disaster: Visit to New Zealand

  • Media release
15 December 2019

This week I will visit New Zealand from 16 to 18 December to convey to the government and people of New Zealand Australia’s sincere condolences and heartfelt gratitude for the efforts of all involved in the response to the tragic volcanic eruption on 9 December.

While in Wellington, I will meet with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and my counterpart, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Winston Peters, to express our deep appreciation for the professional and quick response of the New Zealand emergency and medical services and the care they have provided to Australian survivors of the eruption.

The tragic event has affected 47 people, including 24 Australian citizens, as well as four people who called Australia home. Our hearts go out to all of the families and loved ones of those effected. 

Twelve Australian citizens and one permanent resident have been medically evacuated back to Australia.

Australian Federal Police, and NSW and Queensland Police, are continuing their work assisting New Zealand authorities to formally identify those people tragically killed in the eruption as quickly as possible.

Australia thanks the New Zealand Defence Force members who returned to the site of the eruption to recover those who lost their lives, the New Zealand police for their ongoing close cooperation, and the many New Zealand medical professionals who have been involved in treating victims.

We thank and acknowledge Ngāti Awa for the care and sensitivity they have shown to loved ones of the victims, at a time when they too are grieving.

I would like also to thank all of the doctors, nurses and health care professionals who are treating Australian patients at specialist burns centres at Concord Hospital, Royal North Shore Hospital and the Alfred Hospital.

During my visit, I will also meet with Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade staff who have supported victims and their families, and Australian Federal Police, and NSW and Queensland Police officers, who are assisting with the Disaster Victim Identification process.

Media enquiries

  • Minister's office: (02) 6277 7500
  • DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555