Wild seas and rainfall in Kaikoura expose ancient whale skeletons

Whale bones with a tinge of gold, probably from minerals in the sand, have been uncovered on a Kaikoura beach.
SUPPLIED/PAUL BOOCOCK

Whale bones with a tinge of gold, probably from minerals in the sand, have been uncovered on a Kaikoura beach.

A popular surf beach in Kaikoura had a tinge of gold after last week's heavy rainfall ... but it wasn't from the sand.

Heavy seas that pounded the coastline exposed large whale bones around the creek bed that runs through Jimmy Armers Beach, on the Kaikoura peninsula.

The area, once home to a whaling station, was littered with vertebrae, parts of skulls, and long curved rib bones.  

Curved rib bones are loaded onto a ute after they were uncovered at Kaikoura's Jimmy Armers Beach.
SUPPLIED/PAUL BOOCOCK

Curved rib bones are loaded onto a ute after they were uncovered at Kaikoura's Jimmy Armers Beach.

Department of Conservation community ranger Brett Cowan said the storms last week moved about a metre of sand around the river bed, exposing bones he thinks could be 100 to 150-years-old.

READ MORE: 
Whale watch ends for tonight as low tide passes 
Whale carcasses could be buried or washed out to sea
Dead whale's stomach clogged with plastic
'My goodness, I've got a seal on the roof'
WhaleFest aligned with district's environmental values 

Cowan and runanga senior cultural advisor Norm Kereikeepa had already taken two ute-loads away.

The photographer thinks this is the whale's blowhole and part of its skull.
SUPPLIED/PAUL BOOCOCK

The photographer thinks this is the whale's blowhole and part of its skull.

He put the golden flecks down to particular minerals in the sand, but did not think they would last once the sun bleached and dried them out.

Cowan was confident the remaining bones, which were too heavy to be pulled out would be covered up by the tides.

He said the find was not that unusual, being the site of an old whaling station.

Ad Feedback

Whale bones had been synonymous with the cove since the days of Captain Fyffe's whaling station. 

Even Armers' home had a metre-high whale bone fence and large iron rings were still embedded in the rocks near the old wharf similar to those used by whalers to tie up the whales.

"We expect the whale bones to be uncovered after every large storm," Cowan said.

"It happens about every 18 months, every time a super storm passes there are bones to pick up from around here."

Cowan thought the skeletal remains were from large baleen, humpback and southern right whales.

"We know there are a number of mammals and the loose bones left are fragments of larger bones."

He said the sea was already starting to bury the bones again after two days.

"We are trying to discourage people from fossicking and advising people against gathering the bones, and to let the erosion and weather cover them up again."

Normally if someone came across old whale bones and they were not attached to a skeleton they could be taken, but this was a historic site, and people were not allowed to take things away, he said.

The bones could not be carved because of their age, but Cowan would like to see the bones put forward for a cultural project in the future.

Cowan was trying to get a full skeleton together to have on display.

"I know there's a lot of public interest in having the bones on display.

"We have been gathering the bones to dry them out, until they can put the project to the community for consultation."

 

 - The Marlborough Express

Comments

Ad Feedback
special offers
Auckland

Poi dancing good for elderly

Poi, a traditional Maori dance, involves weights on the ends of cords being spun in circular patterns.

The Maori dance can help seniors improve their balance and memory, according to a new study.

Wakeboarder towed by seaplane

Brad Smeele, Brant Hales and Jesse Cassrels set new standards to raise awareness.

Wakeboarder Brad Smeele injured his spine three years ago. His friends are going to extremes to help raise awareness.

Auckland teacher shortage will get worse

More than two thirds of Auckland's new primary and intermediate teachers are thinking about leaving the city, a new ...

More than two thirds of Auckland's new primary and intermediate teachers considering moving due to cost of living, survey reveals.

Digger flips, driver trapped

Emergency crews are working to free the driver after his digger flipped over in Flat Bush on Monday afternoon.

Emergency crews are working to free the driver after an incident in Auckland's Flat Bush.

Wellington

Capital's cycle lanes a Kiwi-first

Wellington City Council is planning two new bike lanes that will allow people to ride both ways in one-way streets - one ...

Proposed new lanes will allow Wellington's cyclists to ride against the flow of traffic.

Great racecar robbery

The Brabham at the Hampton Downs race track in north Waikato.

Vintage car linked to Great Train Robbers was stored inside stolen caravan.

Environment tops Kiwi priority list

Natural scenery and the environment have topped the list of things that define New Zealand alongside freedom, rights, ...

But many of us don't realise the sorry state it's in, says Forest & Bird chief.

Tackling study overnight

Former Manu Samoa and Hawke's Bay Magpies rugby player Tivaini Fomai with his wife, Moira, in Wellington where he ...

Rugby leader's passion sees him hitting the books while most of us sleep.

Canterbury

Huts near lake still underwater video

Questions have been raised about Lake Ellesmere not being opened ahead of floods that inundated Lower Selwyn Huts over ...

Questions are being asked about why Canterbury's Lake Ellesmere was not opened to the sea ahead of the weekend's flooding.

Man with a flood plan

24072017 Photo: John Kirk-Anderson/Stuff

. Flooding

When a flood looks likely, Hugo Young starts raising all his belongings off the floor - but soon he'll have a flood wall.

'Tough as teak' ex-AB dies

Tom Lister played eight tests as an All Black against, Australia, France, Wales, South Africa and the 1971 British and ...

South Canterbury's most-capped test All Black Tom Lister has died, aged 73.

$231m boost for SH1

A slip on State Highway 1 after the 7.8-magnitude earthquake.

New cycleway planned for 60km section of quake-hit highway north of Kaikoura.

Waikato

Parents sell up to treat child video

Moana Forbes admits that Ka'iulani's illness has changed their lives, but they couldn't live with themselves if they ...

A Hamilton couple are selling their home to give their first born a fighting chance.

Death a 'homicide' video

Police tape guards the scene in North Street, Te Awamutu.

Body discovery scream startles couple as they nestle in for prime time telly. 

SH25A closed for days

The slip occurred near Kitahi Road, close to the summit.

Main road over Coromandel Peninsula won't be clear until at least Thursday, though one lane may open sooner.

NZ's worst footpath?

Te Ranga Memorial Drive has an unusual footpath design.

Ten steps forward, one step sideways. Tauranga City Council left defending flexible path twisting up users.

Taranaki

Faull family success

06042017 News Photo ANDY JACKSON/Fairfax NZ.   Saturday big read,  Faull Farms at Tikorangi is one of Taranakis biggest ...

Gavin Faull is one of two Taranaki entries on the latest NBR Rich List.

A virtual remedy

Digital health deputy Janine Maruera photographs Makaiah Nui's tummy as she is held by cousin Tesha Whakatutu,  during ...

A combination of local gumption and modern technology is bringing health care to a town with no doctor.

'Moonshine' madness 

Drunk on home brew whisky or "moonshine" a South Taranaki man assaulted his partner and drove dangerously. (File Photo)

 A South Taranaki farmer was so drunk on moonshine he had little memory of assaulting his partner.

Something beginning with C

240717 News Photo. SIMON O'CONNOR/STUFF
Central School in New Plymouth has had the 'C' stolen from its front entrance. ...

Be on the lookout for a missing C. It belongs to Entral School, formerly known as Central School.

Manawatu

Holiday park up for award

Former owner of Himatangi Beach Holiday Park Dennis Penney with his most recent hospitality award.

The Himatangi Beach Holiday Park is a finalist in the 2017 Spirit of Hospitality Awards.

Conman allowed to sue

Brian Hunter has multiple convictions, including for impersonating a pilot and a lawyer.

A serial conman says probation officers' negligence cost him, and he's going to sue.

Another slip falls

A new slip has fallen on the already-closed Manawatu Gorge road.

The closed Manawatu Gorge road is blocked by a third slip.

Robber stabs staff member

A staff member at a Levin food store on Queen St has been stabbed in the hand during a robbery.

A staff member of a Levin food store has been stabbed in the hand during a robbery.

Nelson

Recyclable cups end up in landfill

Smart Environmental manager Yuri Schokking with recycled plastic at the Richmond Resource Recovery Centre.

Almost all our disposable coffee cups are going nowhere near the recycling plant.

Weekend crime spree

The door at the Milton Street Store in Nelson was replaced with a sheet of plywood after a ram-raid attack on the store ...

Another dairy raid caps a spate of crimes across Nelson on a busy weekend for police.

Cadets' voyage of discovery

The Nelson Sea Cadets with LTCOL Josh Wineera, New Zealand Defence Advisor to Fiji and LT Sam Wilson, Military Liaison ...

It was hardly smooth sailing, but Nelson's young sailors learned plenty about theimselves.

Pain relief battle

Yvonne Gill has been using opioid painkillers for 10 years to manage pain from a medical mishap.

 A Nelson woman is angry at doctors for stopping access to strong painkillers.

Marlborough

First look at Kaikoura village video

The North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery Accommodation Village.

Mark von Huben​ normally wears a tour guide's hat when he visits Kaikoura - now he's behind the wheel of a dump truck carting rubble away from slips blocking SH1.

$231m boost for SH1

A slip on State Highway 1 after the 7.8-magnitude earthquake.

New cycleway announced for 60km section of quake-hit highway north of Kaikoura.

Cats suffer anxiety too

Vet Centre Marlborough senior veterinarian Mark Wiseman says some cats have to take anxiety medication long term.

Some of our feline friends are so stressed they need anti-anxiety pills, just like humans.

End of the Manhattan

23072017 News Photo- RICKY WILSON/STUFF
The Manhattan Cafe has been sold after 28 years of ownership by 
Murray and Mary ...

Blenheim's longest-running cafe calls it a day.

South Canterbury

'Lake' consumes farm

Farmer Geoff Wallace on his Hook Swamp Rd property, which is still inundated with water.

Rapidly rising water in a flood-prone area meant a South Canterbury farmer ended up with a trailer load of dead calves.

$500k clean-up bill gallery

Ashbury Mowers & Heating business in Washdyke had to get rid of chainsaws and line trimmers that had water damage. ...

Cleaning up the Timaru District aftermath storm will come with $500k price tag.

'Tough as teak' ex-AB dies

Tom Lister played eight tests as an All Black against, Australia, France, Wales, South Africa and the 1971 British and ...

South Canterbury's most-capped test All Black Tom Lister dies, aged 73.

Chainsawing through

Ricky Hunter had no way out of his Bouverie St property other than on foot, after a tree fell down onto the driveway ...

In a bid for freedom after the weekend's storm, Ricky Hunter picked up a chainsaw.

Southland

"The culinary world has just lost a gentleman"

Scott Richardson, pictured here in 2015, in his role as a catering and hospitality teacher at Southland Boys' High School.

Well-known Invercargill chef Scott Richardson died this morning in Dunedin Hospital.

'Business as usual'

Aparima College principal Kaye Day. The latest Governmental report on the College said "urgent" improvement in ...

A troubled Southland secondary school is to continue as usual, despite its leadership coming under fire.

Hotel facing potential delays

Invercargill Licensing Trust general manager Greg Mulvey in front of the proposed site of the ILT's new multi-million ...

The Invercargill Licensing Trust has unearthed some speed bumps in its plans to build a new inner city hotel.

Defending champions on fire

Wensley's Fire cyclists from left to right, Nick Barclay, Marty Jillings, Ben Coley and Tai-Anne Blair set off in the ...

The fire service team has confirmed its the fastest emergency service in Invercargill.

Ad Feedback