A minke whale washed up on the beach at Goat Island last week and was buried at an undisclosed location. Department of Conservation officers supervised the removal of the eight-tonne female. Biodiversity supervisor Molly Hicks said such events were rare.
She said it would require a necropsy (surgical examination) to determine the cause of death, but local iwi Ngāti Manuhiri had requested that the body be buried instead. Following the discovery of the whale on May 10, Ngāti Manuhiri placed a rāhui around the area, temporarily closing the beach for public access.
Ms Hicks says the reason for not disclosing the burial site was to discourage souvenir hunters who might be tempted to tamper with the body.