A young orca has been seen separated from its mother and its pod in the Bay of Plenty, raising concerns for its welfare.
The Department of Conservation has been keeping an eye on the calf and is warning people to keep away from it.
"It is unclear where the whale's family pod is and there are no simple answers in how to help the young whale return to its pod," district operations manager Jeff Milham says.
The whale is swimming freely, and the DOC's marine mammal experts say helping it are limited.
Orca expert Ingrid Visser and US expert Jeff Foster are heading out in the hopes to spot the calf, but bad weather has held them up.
Mr Foster, a former whale hunter and trainer, has a long history with marine mammals. In 1990, Mr Foster left the world of whale hunting and was involved in the release of orca whale Keiko which inspired the film Free Willy.
DOC says it'll keep watching the situation because human intervention could stress the orca out or it could end up bonding with rescuers.
They say both outcomes could hinder its chances in the wild.