An orca has been found dead in the waters south west of Mayor Island, wrapped in the line from a crayfish pot.
DOC's Marine Ranger in Tauranga, Dan Rapson, says samples have been taken so that information about this particular individual can form part of a national research programme on the orca population.
"An unconfirmed sighting of the orca was first reported to DOC via the local Coastguard on Tuesday last week", says Rapson.
"The orca is thought to have been dead at that time. Its precise location, offshore in about 70m of water, was confirmed late on Thursday. We hope that the samples taken will help advance our understanding of these impressive creatures".
Staff from Department of Conservation (DOC) worked with representatives of tangata whenua, Te Whanau Tauwhao ki T?hua, and orca expert Ingrid Visser, to identify and take samples from the animal before conducting a karakia and burying the animal at sea.