A dolphin found washed up on a beach near Raglan is thought to be a rare Maui Dolphin.
A man discovered the dead mammal near Te Akau, 20km north of Raglan on Sunday.
Staff from the Department of Conservation (DOC) measured and photographed the dolphin before removing it.
Maui is one of the rarest and smallest dolphins in the world, with a population of about 75.
There have been five recorded deaths since 2008.
Department of Conservation spokesperson Lucy Roberts said another death was tragic.
"The Maui dolphin population is very small - 55 to 75 individuals - the population only grows by about 2 percent a year, which means that with approximately five individuals, there is only individual a year increase, so by losing one, it's a huge impact."
Ms Roberts said scientists would determine how it died and verify if it was a Maui or Hector dolphin.
She said the dolphin did not have any obvious signs of trauma and looked to have washed up in the latest tide.
Iwi have asked for the dolphin's remains to be returned once testing is finished.