1 Dec 2020

Whakaari/White Island: Witness resists laying blame

From Morning Report, 6:40 am on 1 December 2020

Hamilton man Geoff Hopkins was visiting Whakaari/White Island with his daughter Lillian on the day of the explosion a year ago says nobody should be blamed for what was a 'natural disaster'.

After a year-long investigation into the explosion on Whakaari White Island, WorkSafe yesterday laid charges against 10 organisations and three individuals.

The island is owned by the Buttle family through Whakaari Management Limited and its three directors, James, Peter and Andrew Buttle, have confirmed they are the three individuals charged and that the company has been charged.

White Island Tours and Volcanic Air Safaris both say they're facing charges.

GNS Science and the National Emergency Management Agency - formerly Civil Defence - have also waived name suppression.

Half an hour before the explosion Geoff Hopkins and his daughter were standing on the edge of the crater.

They helped tend to the injured after the boat they were on turned back to help.

Hopkins, who is a pastor with Arise church in Hamilton, spoke to First Up's Ella Stewart.