A 250-tonne buoy that dragged its moorings at Port Taranaki and washed up on Ngamotu Beach in New Plymouth has been refloated.
Three diggers removed sand from around it earlier today, allowing two tugboats to pull it free at high tide.
The buoy, which came ashore during last weekend's storm, is owned by New Zealand Steel.
It is used as a mooring at the company's Taharoa ironsands mining operation near Kawhia Harbour in Waikato.
The Taranaki Regional Council's director of resource management, Fred McLay, said the buoy would be towed to a mooring in the harbour before being taken to Taharoa by its owner.
Mr McLay said he was pleased it was possible to refloat the buoy with minimal impact on the beach.