Concerns around a pod of dolphins in Northland have eased after four were stranded and refloated, all then heading out to sea.

The pod of around 40 common dolphins had authorities worried at Tokerau Beach, on the Karikari Peninsula, after they were discovered extremely close to shore.

Volunteers from further afield gathered to assist locals who were doing their best to encourage the dolphins back out to sea.

Project Jonah said in a statement shortly after high tide at 9.30am the Department of Conservation confirmed four dolphins had stranded, but were successfully refloated by locals.

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"Once the dolphins were approximately 20m offshore, they were joined by up to 30 other dolphins," the statement said.

"The pod are now swimming far offshore - only able to be seen with binoculars.

Volunteers at Tokerau Beach watch as the dolphins head out. Photo / Denise Piper
Volunteers at Tokerau Beach watch as the dolphins head out. Photo / Denise Piper

"Thanks to all who helped early this morning."

Department of Conservation senior ranger Shayne Storey said the common dolphins had been chased into the shallows by bottlenose dolphins.

This was a usual interaction, she said.

The pod of common dolphins, including infants, were close to stranding.

"People here just floated them in the shallows," Storey said.

The two pods of dolphins separated, with the bottlenose dolphins later being spotted in Mangonui Harbour.

She said there remained some concern a few of the common dolphins could be injured.

The Department of Conservation set up a temporary HQ at the north end of Tokerau Beach to help with the dolphin recovery. Photo / Denise Piper
The Department of Conservation set up a temporary HQ at the north end of Tokerau Beach to help with the dolphin recovery. Photo / Denise Piper

A team would be going to the site to help assess the common dolphins, including DOC rangers, fire and emergency, a member from the defence force and a number of local volunteers.

Project Jonah general manager Daren Grover earlier said there wasn't need for panic, as dolphins often came in close to shore.