A 12-metre-long humpback whale has died after stranding on a beach in the Firth of Thames.
The whale was reported to the Department of Conservation about 7pm yesterday evening and a response team was on site before 9pm.
The DoC team was joined by iwi and local volunteers, including a member of the fire brigade who supported efforts to keep the whale comfortable.
DoC Hauraki operations manager Avi Holzapfel praised the dedication of the team who attended to the whale in its final hours and stayed with it overnight.
While the whale was alive when the team arrived, it was thought to have died just before midnight.
The cause of death was unknown, but samples had been taken for genetics, toxicology, and stable isotope analysis.
DoC was working with iwi on plans to bury the large whale.