New Zealand fell silent on Monday, marking a week since the White Island volcanic eruption that killed 16 people.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern led the tributes and paused her cabinet meeting at exactly 2.11pm on Monday (1.11am GMT) in memory of those who were killed in the eruption.

Ms Ardern said it was an opportunity to stand alongside those who had lost loved ones in the tragedy.

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 16: Members of the Cabinet observe a minute of silence for victims of the White Island tragedy during a cabinet meeting on December 16, 2019 in Wellington, New Zealand. 16 people are now confirmed deceased following a volcano eruption at White Island on December 9, 2019. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins - Pool/Getty Images)
Image: New Zealand’s cabinet took part in tributes
New Zealand Defence Force and Police staff recover bodies
Image: The New Zealand Defence Force and police staff attempt to recover bodies

In a statement she said: “Together we can express our sorrow for those who have died and been hurt, and our support for their grieving families and friends.”

At least 19 other people remain in hospital following Monday’s eruption on White Island, also known as Whakaari.

The official death toll stands at 16, however authorities believe two people are still missing on the island.

Authorities said eight police search and rescue staff were deployed for 75 minutes to an area where reports suggested one body could be – but did not find anyone.

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Police have said they remained committed to recovering the two bodies and that police and military divers were continuing to scour the waters around the island.

The volcano, a popular destination for daytrippers, erupted on Monday – spewing ash, steam and gases over the island.

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Among the 47 people on the island at the time were Australian, US, German, Chinese, British and Malaysian tourists.

Police have begun formally releasing the names and nationalities of those killed, with 21-year-old Australian Krystal Browitt the first person identified.

On Sunday, police also released the names of New Zealander Tipene Maangi and Australians Zoe Hosking, Gavin Dallow and Anthony Langford.