A whale stranded on the shores of Whatuwhiwhi in Northland has swam back to shore after rescuers set it afloat.
A team of volunteers have been working to rescue the stranded mammal after it was discovered at Patia Beach early this morning.
Volunteer Peter Wright said the whale was breathing normally at that stage.
Rescuers finally managed to get the eight-metre-long Minke whale to re-float using high-tide this evening.
The team used an inflatable pontoon placed underneath the eight tonne mammal.
However, once back in the ocean the whale swam back to shore.
Rescuers now fear for its life.