A whale estimated to be about 10m long has died after stranding on Northland's west coast.

The whale, initially thought to be a humpback but confirmed to be a Bryde's whale by DoC, is about 8km south of the Baylys Beach entrance, between Mahuta and Glinks Gully.

Department of Conservation staff were at the scene with members of Project Johah and the Te Kopuru firebrigade.

This morning we received a call from Fire and Emergency about a single large whale stranded at Glinks Gully, Northland....

Posted by Project Jonah New Zealand on Monday, 13 January 2020

DOC said it was working with local iwi on their wishes for the next steps, which may include flensing or burial.


"As the tide is now coming in, nothing will be done until low tide."

Preparations were being made to refloat the whale at high tide early this afternoon.

Project Jonah general manager Daren Grover was on his way to the beach when it died.

He told RNZ the whale weighed several tonnes.

Grover said it's unusual for a humpback to be that far north at this time of year, which might have meant it was distressed, unwell or disoriented, RNZ reported.

"It could [have died from] one of many reasons; it could be an underlying condition, whether that is an illness, or it could simply be that the whale has become old and died," he told RNZ.

"We do have some concerns that... it is out of its natural range at this time of year. So there could be some impact of ocean temperature increases as a result of climate change, which may have impacted this animal becoming disoriented and in a region that it's not familiar with at this time of year."

"The next steps for a whale of this size - DoC will be working with local iwi, there will be a blessing of the whale, and then it ultimately will be buried after hopefully measurements and samples are taken. If it's a remote beach, it may be left open to the elements, or it will be left very close to where it stranded.


"You can imagine a 10 metre whale that weighs probably several tonnes or more it's going to be hard to move very far."

In August 2018 two two humpback whales stranded on Baylys Beach.