Stranded whales in Coromandel refloated

The majority of the whales stranded in Coromandel on Saturday have been refloated.

Department of Conservation rangers and Project Jonah medics spent the day helping locals try to free around 40 whales in Colville Bay.

Massey University researchers also made their way there to monitor the animals and capture their behaviour.

By 12pm almost half of the whales had been pushed to safety, and Project Jonah confirmed more were refloated at the 9pm high tide. 

"The stranded whales were refloated and the two groups of whales (one group stranded on the beach and one group in shallow waters) were shepherded together and guided offshore," they said on their Facebook page.

"We will remain on alert and are putting local medics on standby in case this pod strands again overnight."

Leon Rutledge was at Colville Bay on Saturday with his mother, wife and three sons who had driven up from Te Kowhai to help with the rescue efforts. 

He told Newshub he found saving the whales "a once in a lifetime experience, an almost spiritual experience".