In Oct 2004 a live large sperm whale was discovered, struggling in the surf break, off the remote Whatipu coastline of West Auckland, New Zealand. With an estimated size of 40 tonne, little could be done to save it. After two hours the marine mammal succumbed to its unfortunate predicament. With no visible evidence of external injuries or poor health, no real cause was established for its stranding. This series documents the work of Department of Conservation staff and Huia Rangers, as they responded to this event (and a further stranding just one month later). In the November stranding, a similar sized sperm whale was found already deceased on the same stretch of coast. Well-worn teeth indicated this was an older whale that had probably reached its natural life expectancy. As part of their protocols, D.O.C staff consulted with local iwi Te Kawerau a Maki over the recovery of whale jawbone and teeth for maori cultural purposes, prior to the carcass burials.
Above images exhibited as part of Whale Strandings, (solo exhibition) at Auckland War Memorial Museum, July - August 2007.