Dead whale stranded on Kapiti coast, New Zealand


© Karolne Tuckey/Fairfax NZ
A whale is stranded at Waikawa Beach, north of Otaki.

A whale found washed up at Waikawa Beach, north of Otaki on the Kapiti Coast, has died, DOC rangers say.

The whale was found by dog walkers this morning, and reported at about 11am, when it was believed to still be alive.

DOC senior ranger Clint Purches visited the site early on Tuesday to examine the whale and find out if it could be rescued, but found it was dead.

Measured at 7.4 metres and rolling in chest deep waves, the baleen whale could not be fully examined until scientists could get to the flippers and blowhole and take more measurements.

However, its size and white baleen - its filter feeding mechanism - indicated it could be a Minke.

"It'll probably beach anyway, on the tide," Purches said. At which point it would likely be moved after consultation with local iwi.

Purches said there was no obvious cause of death but the marks on it looked to be attributed to the fact it had been washing about on the beach.

The whale may have been beached there since Monday night.

A resident said earlier it appeared to have been trapped in the mouth of the Waikawa Stream, about 35m off the beach, in knee-deep water.

"It came in on the rivermouth at high tide by the look of it."

He saw the whale from about 200m away while walking his dog on the beach about 10am on Tuesday.

"I saw what I thought was a fin sticking out of the water, I initially thought it was a seal ... but it turns out it was a dorsal fin or a tail fin I was seeing."

It was the first whale he had seen beached at Waikawa in the three years he had lived there.