Hundreds of people who helped to refloat 46 whales that became stranded at Golden Bay will be hoping they manage to get to deeper water overnight because it could be their last chance of survival.

The Department of Conservation (DoC) said nothing more could be done tonight to help the pilot whales, which were still in fairly shallow water off Farewell Spit.

Fifty whales re-stranded near Puponga overnight after they were earlier refloated from nearby Triangle Flat at Farewell Spit.

Two whales were found dead and two others died later but the remaining 46 were refloated.


It was hoped the whales would make their way into deeper water overnight and not restrand, DOC said.

Rangers would look for any sign of the whales first thing tomorrow.

DoC conservation services manager John Mason said more than 100 volunteers, many from Project Jonah, had helped rangers to look after the whales on the beach and to refloat them this morning.

Mr Mason earlier warned this could be the last chance to save the whales, with ex-tropical Cyclone June due to bring gale-force winds to the area tomorrow.

"These whales have to get out today if they want to make it,'' he said.

The whales are thought to be from a pod of about 70 which stranded at Farewell Spit at the weekend.

Last week dozens of whales had to be put down after stranding on Farewell Spit.