Stranded whale at Ripiro Beach euthanised

By Raniera Harrison

Northland iwi Te Roroa have reached an agreement with the Department of Conservation (DOC) to euthanise the 13-metre female humpback whale stranded at Ripiro Beach.

Local iwi want to ensure tikanga Māori processes are followed moving forward.

"A decision was made and the tikanga will be followed throughout, prior and post," says chair of Te Rūnanga o Te Roroa, Sonny Nesbit.

This morning a decision was made by Te Roroa, DOC and whale biologists to euthanise the cetacean, which had been stranded for more than 48 hours.

"Thoughts are always with the whale's welfare, that comes first, and together with the Department of Conservation and the iwi, the community and other NGO's we did a lot of consultation about what the options were for the whale," says world-renowned whale biologist Dr. Ingrid Visser.

In a press release, DOC says euthanising the whale is a sad outcome and the decision was not taken lightly.

Kaipara Regional Senior Biodiversity Ranger Matthew Calder says, "We will be moving people off of the beach, so we've got a little cordon now, but as the day progresses we're going to be moving people and vehicles either side just because there's a few issues around the firearms getting used."

Traditional Māori whale flensing experts are currently moving on-site to begin the next stage of the process.