He says it is possible some of them may have been sick but it is unlikely the whole pod was ill.
An Auckland iwi will be consulted before DOC decides what to do with the whales.
The department is dealing with West Auckland iwi Te Kawerau-a-maki.
They were keen to get the coast secured as soon as possible after being upset by vandals helping themselves to a whale, which beached in the area two years ago.
It is likely a rahui will be put in place.
DOC is allowing the iwi to take the lucrative jaw bones as taonga.
However, most of the pod are too young and the iwi are likely to be interested only in the two adult whales.
The rest are likely to be buried on site.
“iwi” ~ meaning a set of people bound together by descent from a common ancestor or ancestors; literally: bone; modern meaning: tribe
“rahui” ~ meaning prohibition; the setting aside of a place or thing for a specified time; permanent reservation of land for a specific purpose
“taonga” ~ treasure that has historical, cultural, significance or value by reason of its manner of production, by whom it was produced or the "history" attached to it or its production.