A whale beached itself on Auckland's North Shore on Friday, turning a trip to the beach for local schoolchildren into a rescue mission.
The five metre grey beaked whale was stranded three times on Narrowneck Beach, and has since been freed and swam away.
"With the help of the public we have managed to keep (it) out, unfortunately it's committed to come ashore," Karl McLeod of the Department of Conservation said as the whale kept beaching itself.
The grey beaked whale is a species that is normally found in deep water.
"It's not well, it's not in good shape...it's got a lot of parasitic infestation," McLeod said.
"Once they're in shallow areas they are really prone to stranding, (there're) not used to navigating and getting round this type of water."
Efforts were made by the public throughout Friday to keep the whale in deeper water.
"We used out board motors splashed water and it still came back in," said Narrowneck resident Bob McCutcheon.