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About Project Jonah

Project Jonah is a registered charity that exists for one simple reason – helping marine mammals. Our vision is to create a world where these animals are respected and protected.

Our strength comes from our volunteers

Our volunteers consist of everyday Kiwis that give up their time to help marine mammals through our rescue, action and protection programs. Whether they’re picking up litter on beaches or getting hands on in rescuing stranded whales, they’re out there helping. Whatever the weather.

We’re a New Zealand organisation, with a distinct flavour and feel. We pride ourselves on being passionate, honest, open and down to earth – things that Kiwis are well known for, both here and overseas.

As a voluntary organisation we need to do a lot with a little. With our distant location we’ve had to develop unique and better ways of getting things done. We’ve pioneered whale rescue techniques, and have shared this technology and expertise with the rest of the world. Much of our work comes from a practical ‘let’s just do it’ approach.

At the heart of Project Jonah is a passionate belief that caring about marine mammals is simply the right thing to do. We care about the welfare of these animals; their suffering and their needs. And though we make decisions using our heads, we do what we do because our hearts are connected with this absolutely vital work.

We believe that both animals and people matter. Whilst the animals are central to what we do, it’s people that make our work possible. New Zealand can lead the world in marine mammal welfare and protection. Your help puts us closer to that goal.

Our People

Project Jonah exists to respond to strandings throughout the whole of New Zealand. Along with this we train hundreds of volunteer Marine Mammal Medics each year, present to schools and special interest groups and raise funds to continue our work. We do all this (and more!) with just two full-time staff.

General Manager

Daren Grover

Daren has been the General Manager of Project Jonah since 2012. This operational role provides stranding response to marine mammal events nationally.

Daren has been the General Manager of Project Jonah since 2012. This operational role provides stranding response to marine mammal events nationally. Before joining Project Jonah, Daren worked for 14 years in risk management, advising businesses and organisations on how to look after their people and avoid exposing them to danger.

Daren has extensive first-hand experience at many mass strandings, and comprehensive emergency management training. His experience includes direct hands-on welfare of stranded whales, logistical and operational leadership and strategic planning for multi-day events working in a multi-agency model. He works closely with the New Zealand Government’s Department of Conservation, both in the field and providing training to their employees to provide best practice welfare and response. Daren is an experienced educator, directly training over 400 volunteer members of the public each year.

Daren was instrumental in Project Jonah being a founding member of the World Cetacean Alliance and members of the International Whaling Commission's Expert Advisory Panel on Strandings.

Communications & Volunteer Coordinator

Louisa Hawkes

Louisa is responsible for the management and oversight of Project Jonah’s 4,000 trained volunteers.

Louisa comes from a science, education and youth work background which is perfect for her role in Project Jonah. Louisa is responsible for the management and oversight of Project Jonah’s 4,000 trained volunteers. This includes engagement through online media and targeted communications, mobilising volunteers to respond to cetacean stranding emergencies and training and mentoring key volunteers into a number of leadership roles.

Louisa has been at Project Jonah since 2013 and has extensive experience in responding to whale strandings nationally with a particular specialty in incident oversight, coordinating logistics, media reporting and volunteer coordination. Louisa has represented Project Jonah at an international level taking part in global stranding workshops and sharing knowledge and best practice with other rescue organisations.

Louisa also has a huge passion for community education and played a key role in the development of our World of Whales education pack and Marine Mammal Medic Online Refresher Course. She regularly presents to community stakeholders including educational institutes, universities, community and specialist groups.

Our Committee

Project Jonah is managed by a committee of passionate and experienced individuals who selflessly give up their time to help our cause.

They are responsible for the Strategy and Governance of our organisation, ensuring our activities are performed safely and continue to be meaningful for the marine mammals we love, respect and act to protect.

From time to time personal circumstances change, individual members move on and we seek new committee members. If you believe your professional skills or personal experience will assist in moving Project Jonah forward on our path, then please reach out to us. We’d love to meet you and discuss the organisation and possible roles in greater depth:

Our History

In 1974 Project Jonah began the anti-whaling movement in New Zealand. Our rally call to ‘save the whales’ was embraced by ‘kiwis’ from all walks of life and in 1975 the New Zealand Government took its first steps against whaling by announcing an import ban on all whale products.

Fuelled by this victory, we then got stuck into a much wider campaign; to encourage the New Zealand Government to return to the International Whaling Commission (IWC), not to hunt whales, but to defend them. In 1976 New Zealand returned to the IWC – where today they remain one of the most vocal advocates for whale conservation in the world.

Project Jonah has, and always will be, a grassroots charity. By engaging ordinary people in our work we have achieved extraordinary things.

  • We helped develop the 1978 Marine Mammal Protection Act, the first of its kind in New Zealand.
  • We campaigned against the keeping of dolphins in captivity and stopped Napier Marineland from capturing and holding more marine mammals.
  • We designed the world’s first whale floatation rescue device. Our Inflatable Pontoons are used around the world and have helped rescue thousands of stranded whales.
  • We provided thousands of volunteers with the skills to rescue stranded dolphins and whales. We are the only national voluntary group in New Zealand that can effectively help marine mammals in distress. Through this network thousands of animals have been saved.

Together we will continue to take action to protect these animals and the oceans they call home.

Our Purpose & Goals

Marine mammals face many threats. Whilst many of these problems need long-term solutions, we’re here for the long run and are dedicated to being part of the solutions. These include:

At Project Jonah we look beyond the conservation of a species to the welfare of individual marine mammals. We believe these animals have a right to live free from suffering, and that as humans we should extend our circle of compassion to them.

Fishing Nets

Single Use Plastics

Climate Change

Our Core


We deliver essential first aid to stranded or injured marine mammals, via our nationwide network of trained and passionate marine mammal medics. We have pioneered ways of rescuing whales and have shared this technology and expertise globally. At Project Jonah we constantly strive to advance marine mammal stranding response and rescue science.


We believe in positive change through action. We inspire, motivate and empower New Zealanders to contribute and take part in making a tangible difference to the lives of marine mammals.


We act as a watchdog and encourage key decision makers, whether governments or industry, to do the right thing. By raising public awareness, we can fight for stronger legislation that will protect these animals and the oceans they call home.

Our Aim

Stop the deliberate harassment, taking and killing of marine mammals for commercial, sport, military or ‘scientific’ purposes
Stop the capture, use, confinement, exhibition or performance of marine mammals for commercial gain and / or human entertainment;
Promote protection of marine environments to reduce the unnecessary suffering or death of marine mammals from human activities

Our Policies & Beliefs

Project Jonah is opposed, on both ethical and humane grounds, to the harassment, capture or killing of marine mammals or the infliction of suffering upon them. This includes:

The deliberate taking and killing of marine mammals for any commercial, sport, military or ‘scientific’ purposes

The use, confinement, exhibition or performance of marine mammals for commercial gain and / or human entertainment

The unnecessary suffering or death of marine mammals from man-made activities such as pollution, ship strike or entanglement in fishing nets

Project Jonah believes that wherever they are used in the making of films or television programmes, marine mammals must not be caused any suffering, nor be portrayed in a manner demeaning to their species.

Where the taking and / or keeping of marine mammals is still permitted, Project Jonah believes that this should be strictly limited under licence, and controlled using the highest animal welfare standards.

Project Jonah is absolutely opposed to the taking and killing of marine mammals for purposes not essential to human safety and security or the welfare of the animals.

Project Jonah is opposed to the commercial slaughter of marine mammals for their meat, blubber, fur or skins. It considers it morally indefensible to subject animals to suffering and death, in particular, for fur or skin products, which are non-essential luxury goods.

Project Jonah is opposed to exhibitions or presentations of marine mammals in zoological collections, marine parks, circuses and travelling menageries. Project Jonah has serious reservations about the educational value of these exhibitions, and therefore does not consider that claims for the ‘educational value’ of these can be justified.

Project Jonah believes that marine mammals should not be kept in captivity unless they form part of a valid welfare and / or conservation programme, the objective of which is the eventual rehabilitation and release of these animals back to the wild, and the rehabilitation of these animals in a semi-natural (wild) environment which meets their physiological and behavioural needs.

Project Jonah accepts that some indigenous communities may kill marine mammals for non-commercial reasons, for their meat, blubber, fur or skin, where this is an essential part of survival. Project Jonah advocates that in such cases, every effort be made to kill these animals instantaneously, or render them instantaneously unconscious and insensible to pain until death supervenes.

Project Jonah accepts that the humane destruction of sick, injured or diseased marine mammals is sometimes necessary. Project Jonah therefore advocates that these animals be killed by a method which has been determined to be both painless and effective and which is administered by responsible and properly trained individuals.

Project Jonah is concerned with wider conservation issues and deplores environmental changes induced by human activity that affect the balance of nature. Project Jonah therefore seeks to ensure that the welfare of marine mammals is actively considered in connection with such activities.

Project Jonah recognises that the dealing in, and smuggling of, marine mammals or marine mammal products causes both individual suffering and a direct pressure on species survival and is therefore opposed to any such practice which could pose a threat to the welfare of any marine mammal and consequently the survival of any species.

Our Partners & Supporters

One of our core values is partnership – collaboration with others for the best results. As a charity we achieve a lot with a little and that’s because we get a huge helping hand from our friends.

There are a number of ways organisations support us. Some donate funds directly. Others provide their professional services at little or no cost. And yet others go on a journey with us, so that more of the donations we receive can be used to directly benefit marine mammals.

If you and your organisation would like to partner with us and support our work we’d love to hear from you.

Our Corporate & Business Supporters

Meet our Corporate Supporters

Our corporate supporters sustain our work by making regular donations. Whether it’s a percentage donated through sales of their products or a direct donation, we couldn’t do it without them. Regular income helps us prepare and budget for the future, allowing us to be better prepared during difficult times (COVID-19) and more able to meet the unexpected costs of stranding response.

Meet our Business Supporters

Our business supporters provide their professional services or products at heavily discounted or free rates. This helps to keep Project Jonah operating and ensures more of the money we raise can be used to directly benefit marine mammals.

Meet our Funding Partners

Project Jonah’s vital work is supported by a number of trust and foundations. We’re grateful for their support to enable our work.

If you and your organisation would like to partner with us and support our work we'd love to hear from you. You can or email us.

Privacy Policy

Privacy Principles and Responsibilities

Project Jonah is committed to promoting and protecting individual privacy in relation to the collection, storage, use, access to, correction, and disclosure of personal information, in accordance with the Privacy Act 1993.

The protection of personal privacy is integral to Project Jonah in fulfilling its role as an employer and providing good supporter service, and it is the responsibility of all staff and volunteers who hold or work with personal information about supporters.

Collection & Use of Personal Information

Information (no matter how it is stored) is personal information if the individual can be identified from that information. Personal information is generally collected directly from you. Project Jonah does not collect personal information from you unless you voluntarily choose to give it to us. By providing Project Jonah with your personal information, you accept this privacy policy and authorise us to collect, store and process your information in the ways outlined in this policy.

We use personal information provided to us for the purposes for which it is provided, and for related purposes relevant to our activities. This might include (but is not limited to):

  • Processing donations
  • Organising supporter functions, events and activities
  • To lobby local or central government or agencies thereof for the purposes of the submission or petition you have signed up to
  • To market and communicate our news and important items of interest to you (if you have elected to hear from us. You can opt out at any time)

We do not sell, publicly disclose or rent your personal information to any person or entity.

Privacy Protection Principles

  • Personal information may only be collected for a lawful and necessary purpose connected with some required function or activity of Project Jonah, and it should not be used for any other purpose.
  • Personal information must, as a general rule, be collected directly from the person concerned, and it must be collected in a lawful, fair, and reasonable manner.
  • The person must be told that the information is being collected, why it is being collected, to what use it will be put, and who the intended recipients are.
  • The safety and privacy of personal information must be protected by taking all reasonable security safeguards to protect against loss, unauthorised access, use, modification, disclosure, or any other misuse.
  • Every person has the right to have access to information collected about them and to seek a correction if they feel the information is wrong, or at least to have a statement of the requested correction attached to the information. Requests for access must be dealt with promptly – i.e., within 20 working days.
  • Before using personal information, Project Jonah must take reasonable steps to ensure that it is accurate, up-to-date, complete, relevant, and not misleading, and that it is being used for the purpose for which it was collected.
  • Personal information must not be kept for longer than is required for the purposes for which the information may lawfully be used.

How to get in touch

This privacy policy is reviewed on a regular basis. Please contact us with any concerns you may have by email at:

Successful rescue often depends on properly trained volunteers. That’s where you come in.

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