Mt Tarawera and Ruawahia from Te Ariki

George Valentine, Mount Tarawera and Ruawahia from Te Ariki, 1886.

Sent to New Zealand in the hope of relieving his tuberculosis, George Valentine travelled extensively, photographing throughout the North Island as well as in the Pacific. He was one of a number of topographic photographers who were lucky enough to see the Pink and White Terraces at Mt Tarawera shortly before its eruption. And like many, he also went back to document the aftermath.

This photograph shows the utter destruction caused by the eruption and uses a common trope of topographic photography of the time – placing people in the frame – to give a sense of scale.

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