Bad weather conditions forecast for the Wellington region over the next three days could put a pause on efforts to find a lost orca's pod.
Toa, believed to be between 4 and 6 months old, was found stranded at Plimmerton on Sunday afternoon.
Search efforts to find his family over the past four days have so far been unsuccessful, leaving the juvenile in the hands of the Department of Conservation [DoC] Whale Rescue and volunteers.
Northwesterly winds are expected to develop today and worsen tomorrow.
MetService meteorologist Amy Rossiter said the conditions are set to peak between Friday evening and early Saturday morning, with gusts over 100km/h.
Rossiter said the wind will affect swells in Plimmerton.
"I think we are looking at swells going to [reaching] about three and a half [to] four metres on Saturday."
DoC Marine manager Ian Angus said the weather will make the effort to find the pod even more difficult.
"Obviously we are trying to locate the pod, doing it in these conditions is going to be really challenging."
Angus said due to the weather it is highly unlikely they will try and carry out any relocation effort even if they spot a pod.
"These conditions would be quite stressful for the orca if we tried to move it so I can't see us doing any relocation effort today if I'm honest."
With the weather change, DoC will make the orca's sea pen more secure and give more shelter to volunteers in the area, Angus told the Herald.
Veterinary results have shown that the orca calf is in good health and has been given a milk formula over the past two days to boost its nutrition.
He said they still haven't put a timeline on how long they can keep Toa.
"It does become more challenging the longer we have the orca here but also at the same time it does give an opportunity to maybe just build up its resilience."
An update will be provided today from DoC on the next steps for the orca.