Karen Williams is author the Tongariro Field Guide and Ruapehu Erupts. Born and raised in the Taranaki, she developed a lifelong love of skiing and mountains. Karen gained a BA at the University of Otago, followed by a Diploma in Journalism. One of her first jobs was information officer with the DSIR’s Antarctic Division in Christchurch. During the summer of 1978/79 she worked as public relations officer/photographer at Scott Base, Antarctica, and she met geochemist Dr Harry Keys on Erebus volcano. Karen and Harry married in 1982 and have two sons, now in their twenties.
Karen and family have lived in the active volcanic region near Tongariro National Park for more than two decades. They ski regularly on Mt Ruapehu and have skied, climbed and visited volcanoes in many parts of the world including Alaska, Japan, Indonesia, Antarctica, Hawaii and Sicily. Karen has worked as a newspaper and radio journalist and for eight years managed the Taupo Museum. She is now is a fulltime writer specialising in local history and natural history topics, ranging from ski history, world heritage, volcanoes and geothermal activity. Karen is on the executive of Project Tongariro, a voluntary conservation society working in and around Tongariro National Park.
Karen has written five books about the central North Island, beginning with Volcanoes of the South Wind, in 1985, from which her latest book has evolved. The other titles are: Skiing on the Volcano, Coming Round the Mountains, Barrel Staves to Carving Skis and Ruapehu Erupts. In 2008, she co-authored a second edition of Ruapehu Erupts with husband Harry Keys, Department of Conservation volcanologist, to document the 1995–1996 eruptions of Ruapehu, the subsequent over-filling of Crater Lake, and the long-awaited lahar (volcanic mudflow) of 2007.