A pod of 35-40 false killer whales and bottlenose dolphins have been refloated in a strong and coordinated effort by locals after stranding on an East Cape beach this afternoon.

Tiria Tomoana took the initial video of the stranded pod while driving along Kinikini Rd with her whānau.

“I thought we could see dolphins out in the water from the road so we pulled over and went down to the shore.”

Footage seen by 1News showed the pilot whales thrashing around in shallow waters at Taylor’s Bay on Māhia Peninsula at around 2pm on Sunday afternoon.

“I put up the video on the local Facebook page and people were showing up within minutes.”

“Bring a bucket,” the post simply read.

Quick co-ordination of locals and an incoming tide contributed to the pod not fully becoming stranded on the beach, said charity Project Jonah in a statement.

“At 4.30pm, locals were in a human chain and following the pod along the beach, working to prevent the whales from stranding on the outgoing tide.”

Tomoana gave a big mihi to the community, who she described as “absolutely amazing.”

Project Jonah coordinated closely with the Department of Conservation to support the response.

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