The juvenile orca in a temporary holding pool.
Image: Jess MacKenzie | DOC

Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


Amid karakia and waiata, the orca calf known as Toa was farewelled by around 70 people at Plimmerton Boating Club at dawn this morning before being taken for burial by Ngāti Toa Rangatira.

Date:  24 July 2021

Toa died in his sea pen last evening.

Department of Conservation (DOC) Marine Species Manager, Ian Angus, said the ceremony ­– attended by Ngati Toa, members of the local community, volunteers and DOC staff – was respectful and moving.

No necropsy was performed.

Ian Angus said DOC thanks the many people who tried to save Toa and return him to his natal pod over the past 12 days.

“We wish to especially thank Gayle Carmichael of the Plimmerton Boating Club and all the members of the club, kaumatua and members of Ngāti Toa Rangatira and Dr Ingrid Visser and her team from Whale Rescue.”

Ian Angus said the number of people involved was staggering with local businesses contributing a wide range of support, veterinarians from Wellington Zoo and HUHA offering their services, and a team of more than 40 international and national experts providing their advice over the past 12 days.

“It was not going to be easy to return Toa to his pod which could be anywhere around Aotearoa. It was our goal to return him to his natal pod, but sadly we were unsuccessful in achieving that objective.

“Nonetheless we can reflect on this and know this huge team of people gave it their best.”

DOC staff will now turn their attention to clearing the site and returning it to Plimmerton Boating Club.

Updates on the stranded juvenile orca in Porirua

View all updates on the stranded orca


For media enquiries contact:


Back to top