An operation is underway to flense and recover the jaws and blubber of three beached Parāoa or Sperm Whales at Pouto Peninsula 55km south of Dargaville in Northland.
It is unknown when the male Parāoa beached. But people on the ground say it appears they have been there for quite some time.
The three Parāoa are all male bulls up to 20 metres in length.
Te Uri o Hau mana whenua in the area gathered at Waikaretu Marae on Wednesday evening in preparation for the traditional whale flensing practice which has been dormant in their iwi for a number of years.
Ngāti Wai tohunga Hori Parata is on sight to guide a group of around 30 Te Uri o Hau uri through the lengthy process which is expected to take three to four days.
Uri from neighboring iwi, Ngāti Whātua, will arrive to assist today.
Once recovered, Te Uri o Hau will then begin the process of boiling the blubber to extract the oil. That process is expected to take up to three days.
The operation will get underway at the turning of the tide, at about 11am this morning.
More to come.