Video: Spectacular drone footage captures mother whale soothing calf near Auckland Islands

ONE News Now has secured incredible footage of a mother right whale, floating on her back and gently cradling her calf on her stomach.

She appears to be calming her baby by stroking it with her pectoral fins.

The footage was taken by drone on a University of Otago expedition to the subantarctic Auckland Islands, and is the first time scientists have used drone footage to measure the size and shape of individual whales.

Professor Gary Wilson speaks about drone footage of a mother right whale and her calf. Source: 1 NEWS

They managed to film 107 right whales – a third of the southern population breeding at the Auckland Islands this year.

Expedition leader Steve Dawson says the behaviour "is not really something you'd expect" from a fifty-tonne animal. 

"It gives you an insight into these animals. It's new really, we haven't seen such tenderness.

University of Otago researchers filmed the huge mammals at the sub-Antarctic Auckland Islands. Source: 1 NEWS

"You can anthropomorphise about this, but they're really just having a cuddle."

The expedition was funded by the New Zealand Antarctic Research Institute (NZARI).

Expedition director Professor Gary Wilson says it “is a great example of the kind of research NZARI supports".

"Using new technology to learn more about how our southern ecosystems function and how we might use that to understand future changes."

Should all New Zealand drinking water be treated?

To treat – or not to treat – that's the question facing Kiwis who drink pure, unchlorinated water.

The Havelock North water crisis has Water New Zealand suggesting a discussion needs to happen about whether councils should be making the decision on whether water should be treated.

Between 20 and 30 per cent of the country drinks untreated water – mainly in the Hawke's Bay, Christchurch and Lower Hutt.

Water New Zealand chief executive John Pfahlert says drinking water needs to be supplied to a quality where people can be confident it won't be polluted.

The Hastings District Council has warned residents they'll need to consider whether their water needs to be permanently chlorinated in the wake of the contamination which resulted in over 5000 people falling ill with a gastro bug and over 600 people contracting campylobacter.

That issue is set to divide the community, mayor Lawrence Yule admits.

He says he isn't a fan of chlorination but no-one wants to see another contamination scandal.

The Prime Minister says any move to mandatory chlorination would be "quite controversial".

The Hawke's Bay Regional Council has growing concerns about maintenance of water bores. Source: 1 NEWS

"You take Christchurch for instance, which has long prided itself if you like on its artesian wells and its unchlorinated water and I think they would be very concerned about any forced move by the Government to make the people of Christchurch drink chlorinated water," John Key said.

Mr Pfahlert told ONE News the inquiries into the Havelock North contamination needs to look at the issue, including whether small communities need help to install treatment plants.

"The Government, who imposes the drinking water standards in New Zealand, needs to consider whether some subsidy is required for smaller communities to assist them with getting appropriate drinking water."

Hawke's Bay water scientist Dexter McGhie says chlorination has short term advantages.

"But in the long term, there are other associated problems….the trouble with chlorination is organic matter in the water, when chlorine reacts with that it generates nasty chemicals which themselves can be toxic too," he says.

Havelock North residents are set to have their water chlorinated for at least another three months – even once the boil water notice is lifted later this week.

Is the Hawke's Bay town’s scare a wake-up call for the rest of New Zealand? Source: 1 NEWS


Person airlifted from Auckland volcanic cone

A person is being airlifted from Mangere Mountain this afternoon.

A Fire Service spokesperson told ONE News the person is understood to have suffered a medical event about halfway up the west side of the crater.

Mangere Mountain is one of largest volcanic cones in the Auckland volcanic field.

The Westpac Rescue Helicopter has been sent to the scene.

Fire Service staff are assisting with the rescue.

The Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter
The Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter. Source: Supplied