11/02/2017 11:00 AM AEDT | Updated 12/02/2017 8:17 AM AEDT

New Zealanders Scramble To Save Hundreds Of Stranded Whales

Time is running out for the beaches whales.

Anthony Phelps / Reuters
Hundreds of volunteers have flocked to save beached whales in New Zealand.

New Zealand authorities are facing an uphill battle to save hundreds of whales that have beached themselves in one of the nation's largest mass strandings.

More than 400 whales stranded themselves at Farewell Spit, on New Zealand's south island, on Saturday morning, in the second incident of its kind this week.

Authorities and volunteers are at the scene on Sunday attempting to re-float as many of the pilot whales as possible, but sadly more than 300 have reportedly already died.

NZ Conservation Minister Maggie Barry said on Friday that it was one of the biggest recorded beachings in the nation's history.

"More than 400 pilot whales stranded overnight in one of the largest recorded mass strandings in New Zealand history," NZ Conservation Minister Maggie Barry said on Friday.

"Sadly it has been confirmed most have died," she says.

Department of Conservation (DOC) staff and volunteers reportedly re-floated about 100 whales from the beach at Friday morning's high tide but 50 re-stranded themselves.

It is not known how many whales from Saturday's mass stranding have been re-floated.

Mass pilot whale strandings are not uncommon at Farwell Spit, where it is believed the gently shelving sandy beaches may not be picked up by the whales' echolocation.