A pod of more than 400 whales have stranded overnight on Farewell Spit. Farewell Spit (Tuhuroa) is a narrow sand spit at the northern end of the Golden Bay, South Island of New Zealand.
Sadly, hundreds of the whales have already died.
Dozens of volunteers are attempting to save the surviving whales. Whales can survive for several days out of the water as long as they are kept cool and wet.
The Department of Conservation (DOC) said it was the biggest whale stranding the department had ever seen and put out an urgent call earlier this morning for volunteers to help staff keep the remaining whales cool until high tide at 10.30am.
DOC and whale charity, Project Jonah, should know by lunchtime if the whales had been refloated successfully, or if more volunteers were needed for a second attempt.
It was not clear why the whales had stranded, but Golden Bay was prone to mass strandings. The bay was very shallow and once whales got in too close to shore they could find it very difficult to head back out.