How the sperm whale died is unknown.
© RICKY WILSON/STUFF
How the sperm whale died is unknown.
A sperm whale has washed ashore on a beach near Blenheim.

Department of Conservation (DOC) rangers discovered the dead whale at Marfells beach near Blenheim about 8.30am on Saturday.

A Facebook post from marine mammal charity Project Jonah said DOC rangers were quick to the scene but they were unable to assess the condition and species of the whale due to strong swells.

The next step was for the local iwi to bless the whale before deciding on a suitable burial site, the post said.

Local iwi will bless the whale, before a suitable burial site is found.
© DOC
Local iwi will bless the whale, before a suitable burial site is found.
A DOC spokeswoman said it was unclear whether the whale had stranded or passed away at sea and then washed ashore.

"The whale is located at the low water mark, and stormy sea conditions have made access difficult, however a team managed to secure the whale last night to stop it drifting."

She said the area had received coastal uplift following the 2016 Kāikoura earthquakes. However, she was not sure if this had contributed to whale strandings in the area.

DOC rangers were working with local iwi Rangitane and Ngāti Kuri on removing the whale.

Marfells beach was the location where a young orca stranded in November 2017.

After spending more than 24 hours stranded on the beach about 60 locals, a DOC team and Project Jonah volunteers successfully refloated the juvenile killer whale.