A whale which washed up on a Kapiti beach is being buried today.

Hundreds of spectators turned out yesterday for a good look at the 12-metre sperm whale after its body washed up near the Kapiti Boat Club on Paraparaumu Beach.

A Department of Conservation spokeswoman said the whale's carcass was being buried at nearby Queen Elizabeth Park this morning.

Staff initially thought the carcass would have to be broken up for burial because it appeared too big to move in one piece.


However, they were able to move all 45 tonnes of the whale's heft in one go.

The process of removing the whale from the beach began only after the tide went out yesterday afternoon.

Until then, a cordon had to be erected to prevent people from touching the quickly-decomposing skin.

Iwi yesterday named the elderly whale, and performed a karakia to release its spirit.

Experts from Wanganui then removed the whale's lower jaw bone for local iwi.

A necrospy was not carried out because it was relatively common for sperm whales to wash up on coastline around the country.