Touch the Whale? $250,000 or six months in jail

Don’t move, don’t touch it.

If a whale washes up on your beach, you need permission from DOC to do something about it.

Mr Hampson first spotted the whale when it was out at sea.

“It was a couple of hundred metres offshore, so I kayaked out. I thought it was a southern right whale and I thought DOC would be very excited about it. Then I realised it was dead and that parts of it were coming out.

“It’s a nuisance at the moment. It has intestines poking out, kids are poking at it.”

That’s OK, call DOC. ?They’ll take care of it.

When the whale arrived at the front of his property and sent a strong smell up into his home, Mr Hampson called the DOC office. An answerphone message said it was closed until January 7.

“Even though it wasn’t really an emergency I called the 0800 line . . . the man asked how bad the smell was on a scale of one to 10, I said 10! He told me they couldn’t do anything about it until the 7th of January so I said, ?if I do anything with it am I in trouble?’ He said ?yes’.”

This has all the makings of an excellent Fawlty Towers episode.

Golden Bay DOC office spokesman Gregg Knapp said Mr Hampson’s call had gone to the national call centre and he was not aware that the whale had washed up on Tukurua Beach.

He said he had seen a whale washed up on nearby Para Para sand spit the day before and he was hoping it would not wash up on a well used beach, where it would be unsafe for the public.

On average it costs $1500-$2000 to shift a whale.

Mr Knapp said he would arrange to have the whale washed up at Tukurua removed.