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White Island Tours Had $38,000 In Bank Coffers, Liquidators Reveal

White Island Tours had $38,000 in bank coffers, liquidators report finds.

A liquidator's report has found that White Island Tours had just $38,000 in its bank account.

Shareholder and owner Ngati Awa Group Holdings Limited placed the tour company into liquidation last week.

White Island Tours Director Paul Quinn said putting the company into liquidation was "the prudent thing to do."

A report by liquidator Ray Cox stated that White Island Tours "did not employ any employees."

Cox mentioned they had discussions with Quinn about the company's history and events pre-liquidation.

"As part of that process, the Liquidators have made a preliminary review of the books and records of the Company."

Liquidators also obtained access to financial records, froze the bank account, and recovered $38,157.

Cox mentioned they established that White Island Tours owns no assets "apart from cash that was held in the Company’s bank account at the date of appointment."

Liquidators are engaging with secured creditors to deal with their potential claims.

"However, it appears that there is no money owed to those secured parties," the report said.

The company also has total liability costs adding up to around $8.5 million.

Liability costs include an $8 million shareholder loan, $4,067 in legal fees.

The deadly 2019 Whakaari White Island eruption killed 22 people and injured 25 others.

White Island Tours was one of 13 parties charged by Worksafe for health and safety breaches leading up to the eruption.

It pleaded guilty to charges of failing to conduct adequate risk assessments and implement controls in June 2023.

During sentencing at the Auckland District Court, White Island Tours apologized to those impacted by the eruption.

Lawyer Richard Raymond said, while words do matter, they cannot do justice to the hurt and suffering of so many people.

"White Island Tours repeats and reiterates its sincere regret for the role it played in the events of December 9th, 2019."

The company had been ordered to pay $5 million in reparations to victims of the eruption and fined $517,000.

Cox said insurance covered their reparations "but did not have the funds or assets available to meet the fines."

The $517,000 fine was also listed as a liability by liquidators.

Public Interest Journalism funded through New Zealand On Air.


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