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Whakaari White Island Owners, To Have Appeal Heard In August


The company who own Whakaari White Island will have their appeal over its 2019 eruption conviction, heard in August.

The company managed access to the volcano when it erupted in 2019, killing 22 people.

The appeal is scheduled to begin on August 12th in the Auckland High Court and will go for four days.

WML was fined over $1 million and ordered to pay $4.88 million to eruption survivors and victims families, in March.

In a minute issued on Friday, Justice Peter Andrew said the questions for appeal include whether WML was managing a workplace and had a health and safety duty.

Justice Andrew said the High Court will decide if "any or all of the claims, amount to a miscarriage of justice."

Justice Andrew said the other questions include whether claims about a previous 2016 eruption, is supported by evidence.

In the sentencing decision, Judge Evangleos Thomas said the 2016 eruption, was a key moment in risk.

All systems, audits, and agencies involved in Whakaari failed with tours continuing as scheduled, Judge Thomas said.

"All defendants should have paused and recognised they could not rely on whatever they understood was in place."

He said, it amounted to a "gross failure in risk assessment."

WML lawyer James Cairney said the health and safety legislation had not been challenged or tested, compared to other laws.


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