An orca found washed up on a west Auckland beach appears to have injuries to its head and may have been struck by a boat.
A Massey University team of experts is investigating the death of the orca, or killer whale, found lying on Whatipu Beach yesterday.
Department of Conservation staff asked permission from local iwi to have a post-mortem carried out.
Team director Karen Stockin said photos taken by DOC staff showed the whale had possible blunt force trauma to the head.
She said it was too early to say what might have struck the mammal, but it could have been a boat.
The team will take samples to test what the whale may have eaten as part of their effort to find out how it died.