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Orca calf farewelled with karakia and waiata at dawn ceremony

News from Department of Conservation
With karakia and waiata, the baby orca known as Toa was farewelled by around 70 people at the Plimmerton Boating Club at dawn this morning before being taken for burial by Ngāti Toa Rangatira.

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 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.”

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

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