They have also named as among the dead four Australians — Krystal Eve Browitt, 21, Zoe Ella Hosking, 15, and Gavin Brian Dallow, 53, and Anthony James Landford, 51 — and a New Zealander, Tipene Maangi, 24.
Maintaining a moratorium on tourism on White Island for any stretch of time could prove difficult. It has been featured for years along with other destinations in the country’s adventure tourism marketing.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who faces elections next year, has been vague about whether that approach to tourism needs to change and whether the volcano should be off limits.
“We hear, and we absolutely agree, that there are questions that have been asked and must be answered,” she said on Friday. She also noted that White Island was a “volcano that’s been visited for the better part of 30 years” without serious misfortune.
New Zealand’s legal system encourages a culture of risk-taking, experts say. It has a “no fault” framework that bars personal injury lawsuits in favor of a government compensation process for accidents, largely protecting businesses from the threat of large payouts.
“We have no court cases now for negligence or injury from motor vehicles, aircraft crashes, hot coffee, slipping over,” said Tim Mackenzie, a health and safety lawyer in Christchurch. People can sue for damages, he said, “but it is a very high test, rarely if ever met.”
In Whakatane, many argue that a dash of danger is what people want. Even as boat rides, helicopter jaunts and other outdoor activities were suspended, Mr. van Dusschoten said he and other tour operators had fielded calls all week from people around the world who still wanted to visit.