Further tragedy has struck the pygmy killer whales off Northland's Rarawa Beach, after five of the six surviving whales needed to be euthanised after restranding.
At roughly 11:30am on Tuesday, the Department of Conservation (DoC) attempted to refloat and release eight whales off Rarawa beach, with the help of locals and marine charity Project Jonah.
- 145 whales dead after mass stranding on Stewart Island
- Sperm whale dies in Northland
- Stranded Northland whale euthanised
But seven of the whales restranded themselves. One was put down yesterday, and the heartbreaking decision was made on Wednesday to put the others down.
Les Bore discovered them, and paddled alongside them for three kilometres last night. He says the whales were given the best chance they could have possibly got.
"After being in the water with them for that long, you kind of naturally came to the assumption that we've done what we can. Leave it to Mother Nature," he says.
"It felt good to leave them to their own devices out there, it's a shame that they had to be euthanised, but at least they had a chance".
One whale is still offshore, and is being monitored.
One hundred and forty-five pilot whales also died on Monday when they became stranded on Stewart Island. It is not believed the strandings are linked.