Swimmers at a Coromandel Beach ran out of the water for shore when killer whales paid a visit on Saturday.
About four orca turned up at Hahei and Hot Water beaches, swimming in very close, about 10m from shore.
Local lifeguards on duty for the first time this season said the whales come into feed on stingrays and are an awesome sight. They made sure people kept a safe distance.
About 350 people were on Hot Water Beach at 1pm when the orca arrived.
It's a sight locals see about once to twice a season.
"Some people don't see them, but the ones who do are in awe of seeing these orcas so close into the shore," Gary Hinds, chairman of the Hot Water Beach Lifeguard service told NZN.
Surf lifesavers kept an eye on the situation to ensure people kept a safe distance and didn't get into trouble going out to look.
Orca are a toothed whale belonging to the dolphin family.
The Department of Conservation says orca can be identified relatively easily by distinctive black and white markings. They can grow up to nine metres in length, with male dorsal fins reaching higher than a metre.
They are acrobatic and are commonly seen breaching and flipper-slapping.
NZN / Newshub.