Bomb squad called in to deal with possible military explosive in Northland

Unexplained death in Taita, Lower Hutt early on Sunday 26th January 2020.  A Police cordon and crime scene invetsigation tent were in place Monday 27th January 2020.

File image.
Photo: RNZ / Patrice Allen

Bomb disposal experts are on their way to Northland after a possible military explosive was found at Great Exhibition Bay, on the east coast north of Kaitāia.

The lead taio (environment) ranger for Te Aupōuri iwi, Niki Conrad, said the device was found at low tide on Tuesday afternoon and appeared to have washed up in the recent storm.

Public access to the area, at the northern end of the bay near Te Kao, was limited but Conrad urged locals to stay away until the explosive had been defused or blown up.

The bomb squad is due at the scene this evening.

Te Aupōuri’s taiao team had been on their way to check a sperm whale that had washed up on the northern side of Parengarenga Harbour when kaitiaki, or guardian, Rangi Everitt spotted the explosive.

Conrad said it was similar to a device he had found at North Cape some years earlier and appeared to have been in the water for some time.

The team notified the local police constable, who then contacted the New Zealand Defence Force.

An NZDF spokesman confirmed an Explosive Ordnance Disposal team was responding to a request for assistance from police in the Far North.

It was too early to comment on the exact nature of the device.

He said anyone who discovered a potentially dangerous object should exercise caution until it was deemed safe by an expert.

Meanwhile, the 17-metre sperm whale, which had likely been dead for a few days, had been blessed and Muriwhenua Incorporation had been notified.

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