An Orca whale stranded at Patea Beach in South Taranaki has now been refloated and volunteers are working to get it back out to sea.
The female killer whale stranded at 7.50pm this evening.
Coastguard South Taranaki president Gary Darnell said the whale had been refloated.
He said about 15 people were standing in the surf about 50 metres off shore, with waves breaking over them.
They hope to direct the whale out to sea at high tide at about 2am.
A digger which was brought in to dig a trench in front of the animal has now left the beach.