It has been almost three months since February’s mass stranding of pilot whales in Farewell Spit. With time to gather some perspective, we’re reflecting on the sheer magnitude of the event. It was the largest stranding in 99 years and had the largest human response ever. Between 220-250 whales died, but with volunteers help, over 450 whales survived!
The event lasted four days and occurred over seven tide cycles. No matter how many times we look at the numbers, we struggle to comprehend the magnitude of this event. And that’s not even counting the tonnes of food donated and distributed by the local community, the scale of the media coverage and number of countries people came from, uniting for a common cause.
Multiple agencies worked together, people made connections and friends worked hard to save the whales and look out for each other. It’s the people who make a real difference at a stranding. Words and numbers simply cannot do justice to an event of such scale. For a better idea of what it felt like to be there, take 10 minutes to watch this amazing documentary made by Konrad, a German tourist who came along to help.
“What it is pretty much about is to show how many people stopped their lives to help. To show how more than a thousand people who didn’t know each other came together for one and the same thing. To help save lives,” commented Konrad.
“I want to show the audience what an amazing job all those volunteers have done out there. I hope that it might help to get more people if it happens again.”
Kia kaha all.