On Monday 27 October, Stewart received a call from Ros Cole from the Department of Conservation, saying there was a whale ashore at Rarotoka Island. Stewart then informed me that a helicopter was going to pick up Sandra Cook and her party, who had located the washed-up whale. Stewart asked me if I would like to go and check it out – It was an easy question to answer.

We thought that we were going out to assist Sandra and her party to try and re-float the whale but on arrival we landed beside the whale and the helicopter flew up to get the others who were already there. To our surprise, the helicopter took-off for Colac Bay, leaving just Stewart and myself to move the whale. [Read more…]

Te pou i te ara tika i ngaro
The kaikaraka called to her, from Pareora Beach.
The whānau gathered.
Knives glinted in the sun.
She knew, her koha would be honoured.

Teoti Jardine 29 May, 2014.

A dead 11.3metre sub-adult humpback whale washed ashore last month at Pareora and the Department of Conservation granted a permit for Te Rūnanga o Arowhenua to carry out a customary recovery of whale taonga. This was the second humpback stranding incident after the Wainono ‘Te Haumi’ whale event in late August 2013. The rūnanga contacted Māori whale consultant, Ramari Stewart and she arrived from the West Coast with a supply of specialist equipment. [Read more…]

Last Monday, on my way to work, I received a phone call from our chair, Graeme Lane. “There’s a whale on the beach at Lake Wainono,” he said. “I’ll meet you down at the Studholme milk factory.”

A local farmer, Gary Bruce, had stumbled across the whale while moving machinery between farms. Within the hour we had Anne Dodds (Aunty Sis), Anne’s husband Bill, Graeme Lane, Gary and Geoff Bruce, along with their father Murray, Steve Harraway from the Department of Conservation (DOC) and yours truly on site. Access to the area was four wheel drive only; it’s not easy terrain.

Aunty Sis gave the whale a karakia, which we followed with a careful inspection of the site. The whale was right way up and appeared to have been dead when it was washed ashore. DOC subsequently told us they had had reports of a dead whale being sighted off the Timaru coast around 10 days prior. After some discussion it was agreed that we would do what we could to recover the jawbones, as they would make an impressive entrance way. Initial measurements suggested that they were more than four metres long. [Read more…]