Stranding volunteers learning a waiata about whales

Image: Kurt Sharpe


DOC's Director-General Lou Sanson thanks volunteers for the huge response to the recent whale stranding at Farewell Spit.

As Director-General of Conservation, I am pleased and humbled by the huge volunteer response to the recent whale stranding at Farewell Spit.

I was impressed by the large numbers of volunteers who came from all walks of life in DOC’s time of need to help with the attempted whale rescue. With so many volunteers involved, I was pleased to see the respect for safety for themselves in potentially difficult circumstances while being aware of the welfare of the stranded whales.

I want to say ‘thank you’ to our whale rescue partners, WhaleRescue and Project Jonah. Daren Grover’s team did an outstanding job of coordinating the help that enabled DOC to focus on the best way to deal with rapidly changing scenarios as events unfolded. I want to acknowledge our Treaty partners Manawhenua ki Mohua, who worked alongside us in making rational decisions and provide cultural comfort in the face of so much emotion.

There were a several commercial enterprises who contributed to the success of the effort. Farewell Spit Tours for their transport, Fulton Hogan for their traffic management. Golden Bay Air and Adventure Air helped and Air New Zealand offered assistance. Even Interislander offered free passage across Cook Strait to those coming from the North Island specifically for the stranding.

New Zealanders’ love of nature was on show here and my gratitude, on behalf of my staff involved, goes out to all those who volunteered in DOC’s time of need. Conservation is at the heart of people’s values.

Lou Sanson
Department of Conservation

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