A boat ripped from its mooring at Whitianga overnight has washed up onto rocks, leaking fuel into the sea.
Salvage crews are now scrambling to save the launch while local authorities are organising a beach clean-up due to debris which has scattered along the rocky shoreline.
The Waikato Regional Council wrote on its Facebook page that their harbourmaster has been at the scene and described conditions as "extremely challenging" as they battled 25-knot easterly winds.
"Unfortunately the vessel has washed on to rocks and some fuel is leaking from a hole.
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"We're working on a recovery plan with marine salvage experts who have just arrived on scene.
"This includes preventing the launch from sustaining any other damage and minimising the amount of fuel leaking from it."
The Thames Coromandel District Council has since advised residents to expect debris to wash up and get scattered around the rocks and the beach all the way to wharf.
It is asking residents to stay off the beach until a clean-up operation begins about 2pm.
"A skip is being delivered to the Buffalo Beach toilets and staff will be conducting a beach clean-up at 2pm for any public who wants to help clean the sandy part of the beach. Anything collected can be put into the provided skip bins/ bags.
"Anyone coming down after 2pm – please wear sensible shoes, bring gloves and stay away from the water. Meet at the Buffalo Beach toilets for a briefing at 2pm."