Mt Tongariro has again burst into life, sending a 6000m ash plume into the sky.
The eruption occurred at around 1:20pm and temporarily closed roads and prompted evacuations off the mountain.
The cloud came from the Te Maari Crater, to the northwest of the mountain, in a similar location to the August 7 eruption – which was the first in more than a century.
3 News reporter Jono Hutchison flew near the mountain in a helicopter, but could only get within eight nautical miles due to an aerial exclusion zone.
“We were close enough to see a plume of steam rising up into the cloud layer. But it was difficult to see how high the steam was reaching because it merged with the clouds,” he says.
“There were several smaller vents releasing steam from around the site of the eruption as we flew over.”
Air New Zealand has cancelled four services from Whakatane, Tauranga, Rotorua, Taupo due to the eruption. No other flights are affected at this stage.