A whale stranded on a Northland beach has had to be put down today.
The Department of Conservation made the decision to euthanise the 20-metre humpback after attempts to refloat it failed and it became distressed.
It was a sad end for a magnificent creature.
"Last night it was very hard on her. There was a lot of surf and she was buffeted around a lot. And now of course we have the problem with the sun being out she's overheating," Ingrid Visser, a marine biologist said earlier today.
After nearly three days battling to get the whale back out to sea, DOC made the decision to euthanise her.
"It's not a nice decision to make. But for the sake of the well-being of the whale it was a decision that we made, and it wasn't taken lightly," said Stephen Stoole, DOC operations manager.
The saga began on Sunday when two humpback whales became stranded on Ripiro Beach.
The calf died on Monday and frantic efforts to refloat the adult were unsuccessful.
Experts believe the whale may have resisted the refloat because of the calf up the beach.
The beach was closed off out of respect and for safety. The whale was shot several times by an expert but media were told she didn't suffer.
The whale remains will be handed to local iwi.
"The remains, the bones will be shared and buried for a period of time. It's called cleansing," said Alan Nesbit, Te Ruroa Iwi chairman.
"The flesh on the good one is edible. But you know you're asking difficult questions. Nothing will be going to waste."