Dozens of Ohope residents have succeeded in returning a beached whale to the ocean after it was spotted on the beach at 7.30 am Friday morning.
Around 100 locals worked in a bucket chain to keep the three-metre long pygmy sperm whale cool and wet until they could refloat it.
The three metre long pigmy sperm whale was spotted on the Bay of Plenty beach at 7.30 this morning and a team of locals worked a bucket chain to keep it cool and wet.
Steve Brightwell from the Department of Conservation says it was an emotional scene with people hugging each other and cheering when the whale swam away just after midday.
He says there is no suggestion the stranding was related to the oil spill from the Rena, which has foundered to the north of Ohope.