Southern right whales are making a home for themselves near the shore along Whirinaki Rd.

Yesterday morning while travelling along Whirinaki Rd 9-year-old Tegan Anderson captured a photo of the whale close to where the waves were breaking.

Department of Conservation supervisor, community engagement for the Hawke's Bay District Moana Smith-Dunlop said they had received multiple reports about whales appearing in the same general location.

She said there was uncertainty about whether all the reports were for the same animal.


However, what they could say for sure was that the photos and videos received were all of southern right whales, a native migrant to New Zealand.

These whales were typically black in colour but could have irregular white patches.

According to DoC their flippers were large and paddle-shaped and they were slow swimmers but very acrobatic.

They could be identified by the lack of a dorsal fin, a V-shaped blowhole spray and white growths on their heads called callosities.

Ms Smith-Dunlop said they had consulted their marine team, who believed it was potentially a small yearling.

The length of the whale varied with a newborn between 4.5m-6m and an adult 11m-18m.

Ms Smith Dunlop said it was very normal for southern right whales to come in quite close to the shore, nearly on the beach.

She advised the public to keep their distance and people could take photos and inform the department of any sightings by calling 0800DOCHOT.