A minke whale died at Auckland’s Hobsonville Point after being stuck under a jetty at the boat landing area on 12 October.
Project Jonah NZ received a number of calls from members of the public who spotted the whale under the wharf. Their team along with the Department of Conservation (DOC) team were present at the site.
“The DOC team responded to a whale stuck under the jetty by a boat landing area immediately,” said DOC biodiversity supervisor, Molly Hicks, “however, the whale had suffered severe injuries from the thrashing motion. The changing tides would also not have helped the whale’s efforts to set itself free causing the animal further distress.”
The whale died at the scene as the team began their rescue efforts. Not long after its death, a broadnose seven gill shark approached to feed on the carcass.
The DOC boat was used to remove the whale from the landing and DOC staff, Project Jonah, New Zealand Defence Force, and iwi Te Kawarau a Maki and Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara were on hand to help bring the whale to shore for burial.
Karakia for the whale was led by Te Kawarau a Maki, followed by a burial and final blessing from Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara at an undisclosed burial location where the whale was given the name Pareira.
“Whales regularly strand or wash up on beaches throughout New Zealand, but a whale getting stuck under a jetty is quite a unique and unfortunate incident. We would like to thank all those involved and the members of the public who reported the incident,” said Hicks.
Minke whales are members of the baleen whale family and are the smallest of the great whales or rorquals. They are sighted regularly throughout the Hauraki Gulf.
DOC added that they would like to remind the public any whales close to shore in distress should be reported immediately to the Department of Conservation on 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468).