Sixty whales from a stranded pod of almost 200 have been successfully refloated near Nelson.
On Friday 198 pilot whales ranging from juvenile to adult stranded 6km along Farewell Spit at Golden Bay.
Department of Conservation (DoC) Golden Bay conservation services manager Andrew Lamason said the 60 whales that survived were last night successfully refloated.
"We've had people scouring the beaches and we've had a spotter plane up in the air and there was no sign of that pod.
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"It's looking like a really good outcome for that 60, they seem to have moved out of the bay."
DoC was now working to dispose of the dead whales which would be tethered to an inter-tidal zone.
"We're going to take them to another spot where we can keep them in that area and then let nature take its course.
"We'll tie them so at high tide they've got water all around them and then at low tide they're sitting on the dry.
"We did that at the end of November with three big sperm whales and it's been quite amazing how quickly they've been processed.
"We've had quite rare birds, especially for here, come up from the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic islands who are real big marine scavengers - they've really just taken these sperm whales apart.
"If you take a more holistic view of it, there is a positive, that's a lot of protein that's been put back into the eco-system." NZME.