Three turtles — Toby, Jaxon and Connie — nursed back to health by Sea Life Kelly Tarlton's have been released off the coast of Tutukaka, complete with a karakia from the local Ngātiwai.

Toby is a young green sea turtle found outside Whangārei in July 2018, Jaxon is a loggerhead turtle that arrived in an icecream container in October 2017, having been found stranded at 90 Mile Beach with a severe lung infection, and Connie is a green sea turtle that has overcome digestion and oedema issues since arriving at the rehabilitation centre in December.

Kelly Tarlton's Alyssa Berimballi said it was always rewarding to see such journeys come to a positive end, particularly after many months of rehabilitation.

Sea Life Kelly Tarlton's successfully released three turtles off the coast of Tutukaka. Photo / Poppy Moss Photography
Sea Life Kelly Tarlton's successfully released three turtles off the coast of Tutukaka. Photo / Poppy Moss Photography

"Watching Toby, Connie and Jaxon swim into the distance was a huge relief for the team who have worked tirelessly nursing them back to health. Although we are sad to see them go, we are sure they will live full, happy lives with their new found health," said Berimballi.

Kelly Tarlton's Turtle Rehabilitation centre has rehabilitated and released more than 52 turtles during the past 21 years.