PHOTO: FACEBOOK A 2018 photo of Whakaari/White Island owner James Buttle, taken from his open Facebook profile page.

A spokesman for the owners of Whakaari/White Island says his family was shocked by Monday’s devastating eruption and their thoughts were with the people affected by the tragedy. 

While it is a scenic reserve regularly visited by the public, the island has been privately owned by the Buttle family since 1936 when it was bought by Auckland stock broker George Raymond Buttle. It remains in possession of the Buttle family under the Whakaari Trust.

At 2.11pm on Monday New Zealand’s most active volcano erupted while 47 people were on it. At least six people are confirmed dead, eight others are missing, presumed dead, and 30 people are being treated in hospitals across the country.