Colville community come together for pilot whales

Katrina Knill —  27/12/2009

DOC staff working with local volunteers to rescue the stranded whales

I didn’t expect to be flying up to Coromandel to help with a whale stranding when I woke up this morning, but at 9.30am, that’s exactly what I was doing.

63 pilots whales stranded in Colville Bay at about 5.30AM this morning and it didn’t take long for the DOC team up there to leap from holiday to emergency mode and start working towards  rescuing them.

Sadly about 20 of the whales expired pretty early, but thanks to the efforts of locals, iwi, holiday makers, Project Jonah volunteers, the Harbourmaster and our own staff, the rest were kept wet & comfortable until they could be refloated at about 2.30pm. 

Pilot whales get pretty disoriented when they strand, so it took a while for them to ‘find their fins’ and each other, plus they paused for one of the females to give birth to a calf before heading into deeper water.

Dr Ingrid Visser was keeping an eye on them as I left this afternoon.  Here’s hoping they stay out there tonight.

The sad losses

Katrina Knill


I work for DOCs Tauranga Office, where I co-ordinate our public liaison efforts with stakeholders & the general public. I get to work with our staff and community groups as well as helping out in emergencies such as forest fires, whale strandings and dealing with injured birds, seals etc.

3 responses to Colville community come together for pilot whales

    Shakib Shahriyar 06/07/2010 at 8:23 am

    Feeling sad for the dead Whales. But I am also feeling happy that those guys actually came forward to help the helpless Whales. Good work.
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      Thanks Shakib
      This kind of event is always sad and it was a credit to the locals that were able to act & assist quickly that so many were able to be refloated. Anyone can be prepared to help make a difference in these situations by attending a Project Jonah marine mammal medic course see for further details.


    sad sad sad