Efforts have been successful tonight to keep alive and refloat a pod of pilot whales in the shallows off the Coromandel Peninsula.
The whales were spotted swimming in shallow, muddy water at Colville Bay.
About 15 of the pilot whales went back into deeper waters but at least 25 were still in the shallows.
Project Jonah members, Department of Conservation staff and local iwi have worked all day to free the remaining whales.
A Project Jonah update on Facebook said those working on the rescue mission were biding their time until the next high tide around 9pm.
In later posts on Twitter they said the stranded whales were refloated, however, a watch would be kept overnight to make sure they did not restrand.
...(One group stranded on the beach and one group in shallow waters) were shepherded together and guided offshore.— Project Jonah (@ProjectJonah) October 17, 2020
We will remain on alert and are putting local medics on standby in case this pod strands again overnight. ^CS
Project Jonah general manager Darren Grover said rescuers have been tending to the whales all day.
"Keeping them cool and keeping them comfortable and giving healthy whales the opportunity to refloat this evening."
He said no more people were needed to help the rescue effort, however food for the volunteers would be welcomed, as well as old sheets for helping in the rescue effort.