A baby orca has found itself at the centre of a rescue attempt north of Wellington.
The young male orca, which is about six months old, has been separated from his pod since Sunday and the search is on for his family.
Until then Department of Conservation marine species manager Ian Angus says the priority is keeping the orca safe and health.
"The next step is really to hear from the vets, take a health assessment, and then we'll replan from there as to where we go next," he told Morning Report.
"We're retaining that prime objective which is relocate the calf back into the pod. We're hoping for the best outcome here."
Angus said the time they have available to find the pod depends on the welfare of the calf, but he thinks it’s a matter of days.