Pod of whales stranded in Ohiwa Harbour

By Te Kāea
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

A pod of whales were last night stranded in the Bay of Plenty, while volunteers tried their best to save them, they have made a path for Whangakopikopiko Island.

Overnight, approximately 36 whales beached and died, and Bay of Plenty locals came together this morning in aid of the whales.

Tio Harawira says, “Around 30 whales beached last night following an injured pilot whale.”

This morning, the local Ngāti Awa people gathered on the beach to arrange plans for a sacred ceremony to bless the whales that died.

Harawira also said, “DoC was notified and they're here to figure out the best way to guide the whales out of the bay.”

The whales became stranded in shallow waters of Ohiwa Harbour after following one of the pilot whales that was sick.

The sound of the helicopters helped spur the whales back out to sea toward Whangakopikopiko Island.

Local man Wallace Aramoana says it's the first time he's experienced anything like this.

Wallace Aramoana, “Not since my grandfather's time, when I was a young boy.  That was the last time he spoke about whales beaching themselves in our region.”

DoC is working with Project Jonah to refloat the whales and plan to discuss the disposal of the carcasses with the local iwi.