The humpback taking a break in Hawke's Bay
Image: DOC

Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


A humpback whale stopped in Hawke’s Bay today for lunch and a show just off Napier’s Marine Parade beach.

Date:  24 May 2018

As it got closer to shore, the gathering crowd got larger and was treated to some spectacular barrel rolls and breaches.

Department of Conservation Ranger Rod Hansen said the whale may have come close to shore to rest up and have a feed.

“It has been confirmed as a humpback whale and judging by the amount of growth on its skin it appears to be a reasonably old whale.

“As it was doing barrel roles and breaching, I think it would be fair to say it was in good health,” he says.

The whale spent a few hours in the Bay.

Humpback whales are frequent visitors to the coastal waters of New Zealand. They undertake seasonal long-distance migrations between summer feeding grounds in Antarctica, and winter calving and breeding grounds in tropical or near tropical waters.

They travel mainly along the east-coast of the South Island and through Cook Strait during winter and return along the west-coast during spring.

DOC welcomes people reporting sightings of whales as they help increase the knowledge of whale distributions and movements around New Zealand.

Sightings can be reported to DOC’s conservation hotline 0800 DOCHOT (0800 362 468).

When recoding the details include as much information as possible including:

  • the date, time and location (GPS coordinates if possible)
  • the number of whales and whether any are calves
  • the direction they were travelling
  • take photographs or video; focus on identifying marks, the left side of the head, and shots of the full length of the body.


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