The Department of Conservation is staying tight-lipped over the deaths of a group of penguins on the East Coast.

At least 14 have been found washed up along Waihau Bay.

Anti-oil protesters claim seismic testing in the Raukumara Basin is to blame.

DOC is choosing to stay out of the debate until it knows for certain the cause of death.

It said there was a range of reasons why they could have died, and will not comment until test results have come back.

They are expected some time next week.

- Newstalk ZB