A 15m whale found dead south of Ahipara is the second in a fortnight to wash up on Ninety Mile Beach.

The baleen-type whale was first spotted on Wednesday by a member of the public in rock pools offshore where the water was too rough for a closer inspection. It was initially thought to be small, about 3m long, but its true size became apparent yesterday when it washed up on a beach near Tauroa Pt. Its species is not yet known.

DJ Neho, of Department of Conservation's Kaitaia office, said DoC was speaking with Te Rarawa representatives about what to do with the giant carcass. As a baleen whale it does not have the teeth or jawbone prized for carving.

In the meantime, Mr Neho urged the public to look but don't touch the whale carcass.

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"We're concerned for the health and well-being of people who might want to visit the whale as they can catch diseases from the blood and fluids of marine mammals such as whales. The whale is also starting to rot. This is a natural though extremely smelly process."

On August 13, the body of a 10m-long sperm whale washed up at Hukatere, about halfway up Ninety Mile Beach.

Its teeth and jaw were removed by experts led by Ngatiwai's Hori Parata. Its flesh and viscera were buried.

Mr Neho said it was not known why the latest whale had washed up.

Call 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468) if you find an injured or distressed marine mammal.