Buckets of water nearby a dolphin stranded at low tide.
© Prepper Kiwi
Buckets of water nearby a dolphin stranded at low tide.
Seven dolphins from a pod of 10 beached on Waiheke Island have been refloated and are swimming back out to sea, the Department of Conservation says.

One adult dolphin and a calf died earlier this afternoon after the mass stranding at Whakanewha Bay.

The remaining juvenile dolphin returned to deeper water shortly before 4pm. The animal was monitored by Project Jonah and was seen heading back out into the Hauraki Gulf.

DoC's Auckland inner islands operations manager, Emma Kearney, said efforts to refloat the other dolphins and shepherd them out to sea continued after 4pm.

"As of 4.40pm, the remaining dolphins had been successfully refloated, and had left the bay and were last seen heading out to deeper water."

The two dead dolphins were being taken to Massey University for necropsy.

DoC has had staff at the scene since noon, working alongside Project Jonah, Ngāti Paoa and members of the Waiheke community in an effort to make the dolphins comfortable with a view to refloating them if possible, a statement from DoC said.

Massey University marine mammal specialist Karen Stockin has also been at the scene providing advice and assistance.

"We would like to thank Ngāti Paoa, Project Jonah and the local community for their contributions to the rescue," Kearney said.

The site of the stranding will be checked tomorrow morning in case the animals restrand, the statement said.

"The animals are common dolphins," Kearney said.

The next high tide at Whakanewha Bay is about 7.26pm.

Pictures from the scene show dolphins beached in a shallow bay at Whakanewha Regional Park on the southern coast of the island, near Auckland.

Scores of locals turned out to help save the mammals.

A local livestreaming the rescue effort said there appeared to be a number of juvenile dolphins with their parents.

Locals were dousing them in water and covering them in makeshift wet blankets using towels and large fern fronds.

A survey of the bay shows them beached across hundreds of metres following low tide this morning.