Whale that died on Northland beach to be given ‘proper burial’

A sperm whale that died after becoming stranded on a Northland beach will be given a proper burial.

The Department of Conservation was notified of the stranding near Doubtless Bay late yesterday afternoon.

Rangers remained on the scene overnight but the whale died at 2.30am this morning.

The 15m long sperm whale will now be given a proper burial by the local iwi, said Ngāti Kahu spokesperson Robert Urlich.

“We accord whales and dolphins that strand on our beach the same dignity as we would a human-being,” he said.

The iwi has consented to samples of the whale’s stomach contents being taken.

“As Ngāti Kahu we have not allowed our whales and dolphins that strand to be cut up, however… we have changed our minds about a number of things – mainly because there are a number of problems in the environment that need to be addressed,” Mr Urlich said.

“Plastics pollution… is severely affecting our natural environment… and part of this too of course is micro fibres which are even more dangerous because micro fibres are ingested by the smaller species of life.

“We have a responsibility to protect our environment and for us here in Ngāti Kahu, we regard the whale and dolphin population as our whanaunga – as our relatives.”