A 20m Bryde's whale has beached at the site of an old whaling station near Tokomaru Bay on the East Coast.

Department of Conservation (DoC) ranger Graeme Atkins spotted the whale at St Patricks Cove and posted a video on Facebook.

Atkins said it appeared the whale had beached while alive but had since died.

There was no visible trauma.

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The remote cove where it washed up was a former shore-based whaling station in the 1850s, Atkins said.

"The irony of it all. Many a whale met their demise in this cove."

Local hapū/whānau representative Ondre Te Hau said there was a temporary rāhui in place due to the taonga tohorā (whale) beaching.

Local whānau attended the location with DoC staff, a karakia was performed, and information was gathered to identify the tohorā and possible causes of death.

They were discussing possibilities of either a safe removal and/or burial of the whale.

The Bryde's whale, pronounced broo-das, is a member of the same group as the humpback and blue whale.