PHOTO: White Island erupting yesterday. Photo / George Novak

Auckland’s Buttle family owns Whakaari/White Island, one of a few privately-owned islands throughout New Zealand, property records show.

The title shows their company, Whakaari Trustee, as the registered landowner.

Companies Office records show three shareholders: James Buttle of Shortland St in Auckland CBD, Andrew Buttle of Greenhithe and Peter Buttle of Mission Bay.

They each own a third of the shares in the company giving them an equal and undivided third of the island.

All three men are also the company’s directors. The company was registered in 2008 and property records show the title to the 237ha island was issued in May, 1935.

James Buttle said this morning: “We are devastated. One brother is in Whakātane. A statement will be issued shortly.”