Story: East Coast region

Whale stranding at Wainui Beach

Whale stranding at Wainui Beach

During the mid-19th century shore whalers operated from many locations on the East Coast. Through the 20th and into the 21st century whales still populated these waters. On 18 March 1970 nearly 60 sperm whales stranded along Wainui Beach, some of them, as in this image, on the jagged rocks at the base of Tatapōuri Point. Observers recalled that the sea was red with blood. Controversy broke out when some sightseers tried to take body parts as souvenirs, in one instance with a chainsaw. None of the whales survived; a grave 150 metres long, 10 metres wide and 5 metres deep was excavated to bury them.

Using this item

Department of Conservation
Reference: Alan N. Baker, Whales and dolphins of New Zealand and Australia. Wellington: Biological Society, Victoria University of Wellington, 1972
Photograph by Faulkner

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How to cite this page:

Monty Soutar, 'East Coast region - Climate, flora and fauna', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/33281/whale-stranding-at-wainui-beach (accessed 15 August 2020)

Story by Monty Soutar, updated 1 Mar 2015