Whale Gone Questions Remain
Written by John Freer on October 30, 2022
The wave of anger and concern caused by the recent sperm whale beaching at Wharekaho (Simpsons Beach) in Mercury Bay, may have subsided with Friday’s burying of the 40-tonne mammal. The only signs evident yesterday were a couple of strops used by diggers to hide the remains of the whale carcass.
Local residents are still seeking answers saying that the entire process of handling both bringing the whale to Simpsons Beach, and then the disposal, left many unanswered questions.
As one resident told CFM, the beaching and flensing process went ahead with total disregard for birdlife on the beach such as nesting Dotterels. With more than 1500 litres of oil being removed from the dead whale, 28 sets of teeth valued at over $1000 each, and a large amount the ambergris, some of the residents spoken to are requesting the Department of Conservation to provide a breakdown of the project costs and the disposal of the highly valued whale body parts.
The residents we spoke to are not necessarily questioning the cultural significance of the flensing process but wishing to understand that commercial value of the remains and who benefits from this and who actually paid the costs of movement of the whale, and the costs associated with the flensing such as diggers and DoC staff patrolling and managing the beach during the time of flensing.
CFM has made a request under the Official Information Act for details on the costs paid by DoC in relation to this event.