Te Whakatohea descendants can recall their ancestors talking about a pod of whales living in their portion of the ocean between Opape and White Island. Back in 2011 a mother whale and her calf stranded on the Opape beach and were buried in sand dunes. Earlier this year 2012 the skeletons were exhumed and taken to the Wellington Museum Te Papa for scientific testing. The results revealed the whale is a species rarely seen by man known as the spade tooth whale which has a spade like shaped tooth other side of its lower beak.

Kei te maumahara tonu te iwi o Te Whakatohea ki nga kupu tawhito o o ratau tipuna mo tetahi kahui tohora e noho ana ki to ratau takiwa o Opape puta atu rano ki Whakaari. Hoi ano no te tau rua mano ngahuru ma tahi i paea tetahi tohora me tana punua ki te ākau o Opape, ā ka tāpuketia nga tinana ki te onepu. No tomua i tenei tau rua mano ngahuru ma rua ka hahu nga koiwi o te kātua me te punua tohoroa ka haria ki te whare tongarerewa o Te Papa i Te Whanganui-a-Tara whakamatautau ai. Na runga i tena kua kitea ko nga tohora he tohora kauhoe muna e kore te tangata e kite a kanohi. Ko te ingoa o te tenei momo tohora ko te spade tooth whale he roroa ona ngutu otira e rua ona niho kei roto i te waha tata, tetahi niho kei tawahi o tetahi atu nohi e rite ana ki te rau o tetahi kāheru.