A young orca that had become separated from its pod in Tauranga Harbour has died.
Conservation staff and locals had been trying to save the calf for more than a week.
With its health deteriorating due to dehydration and malnutrition, the orca was moved to a land-based pool two days ago.
It was initially fed electrolytes and water through a tube and was later given a fish slurry, but it did not respond.
Orcas are wholly reliant on their pods for food during their formative years so cannot survive independently.
Last week the Department of Conservation said there were limited options to help the calf and best they could do was wait and hope the young whale would be adopted by a passing pod.
Conservation Minister Maggie Barry said if the rescue attempts had been successful it would have been a world first.
Although the chances of success were always slim, those involved should be proud of their efforts, she said.