On the evening of 20 December 2018, local community, iwi, and DOC responded to the stranding of a 12.7-metre male humpback whale just south of Kaiaua. This is the first incident of a humpback whale stranding in the Firth of Thames (Ti - kapa Moana) in living memory.
Unfortunately, despite our best efforts the tohora- (whale) passed away before midnight.
Initial reports of a whale calf accompanying the adult were followed up by helicopter flights the next morning where nothing was found. We assume that if there was a calf, it made it safely back to deeper water.
This is a thank you to those who helped and supported this Marine Mammal
To the ‘initial responders’ who contacted the DOC hotline 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468) and along with Nga- ti Paoa, Nga- ti Whanaunga, Nga- ti Hako, Kaiaua Fire and Emergency NZ volunteers and DOC, worked to care for the tohora- through the night while waiting for the next high tide.
To those who provided expert local advice on who has what equipment locally and possible burial sites, the “little barge that could”, those who helped with digging.
To the NZ Coastguard, the “anchor loan” family, NZ Whale Rescue, contractors, cafes, and everyone else.
Kind Regards and thank you all again,
Avi Holzapfel, Operations Manager
On behalf of the team at DOC Hauraki
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