The Daily Post Rotorua 8th March
Two fragments from the Pink and White Terraces, destroyed in the 1886 Mt Tarawera eruption, have re-surfaced at an Auckland auction.
International Art Centre director Richard Thomson said it was an unbelievable find and the fragments were checked for authenticity.
"I think it's an amazing find. In my 26 years of working in auctions I've never seen anything like them."
The geological specimens will go up in a must-sell auction at the art centre on March 29.
They are being sold as part of a collection with 12 photographs of the terraces and a painting by Rotorua's late Ina Hazard who inherited the fragments. "Everything stayed together which is amazing," Mr Thomson said.
"It's very hard to estimate the price. We are selling the painting, which is priced at around $3000, with the additional 12 photographs and geological specimens. The specimens are probably more important than the art but how do you put a price on them?"
Mr Thomson said the story behind the rare fragments helped prove their authenticity.
Working with Auckland University professor Ron Keam, Mr Thomson provided the following catalogue for the artefacts and art.
History records show Ina Hazard as a survivor of the Tarawera eruption and daughter of Charles Hazard, headmaster of Te Wairoa School in the 1880s.
The school was in Te Wairoa Village near to the dwelling of Wi Keepa Te Rangipuawhe, of Te Arawa iwi Tuhourangi, who controlled access to Rotomahana.
A friendship formed between Mr Hazard and Mr Te Rangipuawhe which led to the Hazard family gaining access to collect small pieces of sinter from the terraces. On the night of the Tarawera eruption, June 10 1886, Hazard and his family observed the spectacle from their verandah.
A few hours later the Hazard family home collapsed under a rain of rocks which took Mr Hazard's life.
Ina Hazard survived, and in her adult life worked as an artist living in Putaruru with her daughter Elva Aitcheson.
She died in 1970 and passed on the collection to her family, which has led to it being sold this year.
The Daily Post Rotorua