'This is good news' - no more whales stranded on Farewell Spit

Farewell Spit remains free from beached whales with no new strandings.

A pod of 17 whales refloated at Farewell Spit this morning now appear headed towards the safety of Cook Strait. Source: 1 NEWS

The Department of Conservation says the Golden Bay coastline is clear from Farewell Spit to Collingwood.

"This is good news," it said in a statement this morning after more than 700 whales stranded in the area over the weekend and hundreds of volunteers pitched in to a huge relief effort to save them.

A pod of 150 or more pilot whales that had been milling around off the coast of Pakawau yesterday afternoon had also swum away and could not be seen from shore.

Rotorua's Timoti Bramley performed a karakia, saying it was important to him because of the spiritual and ancestral connection he has to the whales. Source: 1 NEWS

"It's not known at this time where the whales are, but DOC staff and Project Jonah remain ready to respond if a report comes in of whales stranding," the department said.

Authorities have set about moving hundreds of whale carcases into the sand dunes in a part of Farewell Spit not open to the public where they buried them with a digger.

The series of mass strandings are the largest on the New Zealand mainland since records began.

Seventeen whales stranded at Golden Bay overnight and these selfless helpers are doing what they can to save them, but they need help. Source: 1 NEWS

About 1000 whales beached themselves on the Chatham Islands in 1918 and 450 near Auckland in 1985.