Pod of whales stranded in northern Coromandel

A mission is underway to save about 40 stranded whales near Colville in the Coromandel. Photo: Supplied

A large pod of whales has become stranded at a beach in the northern Coromandel.

Project Jonah said the pilot whales were seen swimming in shallow, muddy water during high tide about 10am.

Part of the pod avoided stranding, however a rescue mission is underway for other whales still in the shallows.

The Department of Conservation, rural fire brigade and local iwi are at the scene.

Project Jonah said the rescue call be an all day response.

DOC Coromandel district operations manager Nick Kelly, who is at the beach, said there are between 40 and 60 pilot whales involved.

The pod had split into two, he said.

One was stranded in shallow water, with people helping to keep the whales comfortable.

“Roughly 25 specimens have stranded on mudflats at the site.”

The other was further out and being shepherded out to sea.

The next high tide will be around 9pm, he said, which was unfortunate.

DOC staff appreciated the public’s concern and were accepting items such as buckets, blankets and food to continue the rescue effort.

“But a key point for us is asking the public to stay away from the site to allow us to do our job,” he added.

Passerby Tellic Evans said the whales were just north of Colville School.

She said some whales were “well stranded” as the tide had gone out.

About 100 people were at the scene helping.

Caroline Williams/Stuff

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