Twenty-three people were rescued from the island off the Bay of Plenty coast after an eruption on Monday afternoon - five later died from their injuries.
Police estimated up to 27 people had been left stranded on the island when rescue efforts were abandoned because of safety concerns, late last night they said they were still working to confirm the exact number.
White Island Tours had a party on the island when it erupted. Its chairman Paul Quinn says "Devastation is an understatement. This is a terrible tragedy and our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has been impacted."
Former Whakatāne mayor Tony Bonne has confirmed one of the company's guides, Hayden Marshall-Inman who he knew personally, is among the dead.