Unprecedented number of young male sperm whales stranding worries South Taranaki Māori

South Taranaki Māori are concerned about an unprecedented number of young, male sperm whales stranding along the area's coast.

The 13th whale found stranded on Ngati Ruanui Hapotiki hapū in less than two weeks was discovered last Friday at a remote location accessed on foot along the Waihi Beach coastline.

"It is highly unusual and there is concern about a young healthy male pod washing up in these numbers," said Te Runanga o Ngati Ruanui Kaiarataki Debbie Ngarewa-Packer.

"As it is the first in many of our lifetimes, the time is right to learn through this process, allowing traditions to continue with future generations and to understand more of what’s happening out there," she said.

Ms Ngarewa-Packer said thanks to the support received from Ngati Wai and Nga Ruahine, Ngati Ruanui would work together caring for both the Tohora (whale) and each other.

The whale on the beach along the Waihi-Tangahoe coastline. Source: Supplied

"This is an intense process which we undertake with careful consideration. It takes many people to respectfully receive this precious gift named Utungia."

The 11 metre-long male sperm whale will be honoured with unique traditional processes.

“We can’t determine what’s happening out in the ocean but we can learn to manage these losses in a way that brings to life cultural practices that honour and pay respect," said Ngati Ruanui Rangatira Rukutai Watene.

“We have invited Hori Parata and experts of Ngati Wai to educate and lead through this process.”

Ngati Wai are experienced in this role, having managed about 500 whale and dolphin rites throughout Aotearoa.

As the whale has chosen to rest on a rugged and often inaccessible section of Ngati Ruanui beach 'Koutu' along the Waihi-Tangahoe coastline, Ngati Ruanui will be managing limited access.

The whale stranded along the Waihi-Tangahoe coastline in South Taranaki. Source: Supplied

Watch: 'There are no excuses' – Judith Collins and Housing Minister Phil Twyford fire up over state housing waiting list

Debate over the housing crisis fired up today when the Housing Minister was questioned by opposition Members of Parliament.

National MP Louise Upston accused Labour of failing to fund any programmes for people outside Auckland or Hamilton.

There's been 540 social houses constructed since Labour came into office, but the state housing waiting list is at record levels – over 8000 people now languish on it.

Housing New Zealand has halted its tenancy reviews that can see people evicted for a number of reasons, since Labour took office.

Given Housing New Zealand’s reluctance to evict people, Judith Collins wanted to know what happens if neighbours complain about anti-social behaviour or other issues from a state housing tenant.

Minister Phil Twyford Twyford insisted the majority of tenants are good people who do not cause problems.

He also avoided a question on whether he'd resign if someone was sleeping in a car or on the streets, and said the Government had committed $4 billion in the latest Budget for "public homes". 

The state housing waiting list is at record levels. Source: 1 NEWS


Serious crash causes traffic headaches on major Auckland CBD road

A serious crash between a scooter and a car has forced the closure of parts of Auckland's Karangahape Rd.

The crash occured on K Rd between Pitt St and Howe St and westbound lanes on that section are closed. Eastbound lanes remain open.

Further north a broken down truck is blocking the left city-bound lane of State Highway 1 (Northern Motorway) at the end of the Silverdale on-ramp. 

Motorists are warned to avoid the area or expect delays.

Police car generic.
Police car generic. Source: 1 NEWS