Maori blessing for humpback whale

Humpback's death remains a mystery

AUDREY MALONE
Last updated 05:00 16/05/2014
timaru pareora beach whale nikita reid tyler reid
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/Fairfax NZ

WASHED UP: Nikita Reid and her son Tyler, 1, check out the dead humpback whale that washed up on Pareora Beach.

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The dead humpback whale discovered at Pareora Beach on Wednesday has received a traditional Maori blessing.

Two Department of Conservation (DOC) workers went to the site yesterday to try to learn more about the reasons for the whale's death. DOC senior ranger for biodiversity Paul Gasson said they took photos and measurements of the whale and would be liaising with a marine mammal expert in Wellington.

He said it was not unusual for a humpback whale to be in the region right now, as they are migrating north, with the southern winter approaching.

"There is no obvious cause why it turned up dead," Gasson said.

DOC science advisor Laura Boren said death was part of the process of migration.

"They go south in the summer to feed and north in the winter to breed," she said.

However the strandings and sightings of the humpback whales were a good sign, as it meant the population was starting to increase. She could not confirm the reason for the death of the whale as she had only seen photos, but it looked as though it had been dead at sea for a while.

Meanwhile an Arowhenua runanga representative went to the beach and performed a karakia for the creature's final journey yesterday.

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- The Timaru Herald

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