A dead curvier's beaked whale has washed up on a Porirua beach.
The nearly seven-metre long whale washed in with the tide overnight, Department of Conservation marine species manager Ian Angus said.
"It looks mature, they don't get much bigger than that, is my understanding.
"It looks like it's possibly died of natural causes, although we don't know, given that it's buried."
The department, in consultation with iwi and the local council would make a decision about what to do with it, Mr Angus said.
"But [we're] also going to have to think about issues such as health and safety and a decision will be made on how to dispose of it.
It would eventually be buried, he said.
"The problem is you can't leave it here because it's a very public beach and so respecting the wishes of iwi but also public health, it will probably get moved, but we'll wait until we know more about the logistics and how to manage that."
"Certainly we'll be discouraging people from handling it."
Jennie Smeaton from Te Runanga O Toa Rangatira, the authority for local iwi Ngati Toa Rangatira, said they had performed a karakia earlier in the day.
"The tide's coming in so we won't be able to do anything until later this afternoon when the tide goes back out."
The whale had been cordoned off to keep the public away, she said.
"We've had people pulling at bits and pieces of it...but it's the hygiene issues and health and safety that we're concerned about."
Constable David Payne said police were at the scene for crowd control and to try to keep the public away from the whale.