New Zealand's top conspiracy theories

Seismic testing vessel caused the Kaikoura earthquake

This well-known conspiracy theory followed 2016's magnitiude 7.8 Kaikoura earthquake, blaming the presence of seismic testing ship Amazon Warrior for the devastating shake.

The 126m-long vessel was offshore to start seismic testing for oil along the eastern seaboard, which involves using high energy sounds to map the seabed.

In the wake of the disaster, many people seized the opportunity to blame the ship for the earthquake.

Green Party MP Steffan Browning posted photos of the ship in Cloudy Bay, near Blenheim, the day before the quake struck. He said he was sorry to see the "ecological thumper" in our backyard.

And after the quake people tried to link it to the ship's presence.

"GET READY.......Earthquake technology exists, Weather Modification too, the US military used it on Haiti (ULF freq. from a US Navy vessel) & maybe even Fukishama although there is less evidence that points to that [sic]," warns Luis Flyer.

"Last night was maybe a shot over the bow, an orchestrated major catastrophy here in NZ, is the kind of event Key would allow. I am not calling it like a premonition, but rather perfect sequence of opportunities to pull a False Flag Hegelian Dialect catastrophic event [sic]."

"This vessel is under cover, monitoring the Earthquake Weaponry being tested on New Zealand, and phase two. Phase one was first Ch-Ch earthquake [sic]," claimed Warren Wichman.

These claims were called "ridiculous" by the oil industry, with GNS Science saying seismic testing has no effect on earthquakes.

UFO sightings

Auckland is apparently a hotspot for alien activity, with multiple accounts of seeing unidentified flying objects in the sky.

Lance and Patricia Rasmussen claim to have seen the mysterious, shapeshifting coloured orbs around their Manukau Heads home most nights for about a year.

Ms Rasmussen has taken hundreds of photos of the objects which stay around their isolated Awhitu property, where they've lived for 12 years, "all night long".

Mr Rasmussen described the objects as spheres "three times the size of a CD, like a big record-type thing" and said some would be less than four metres away from him when they hovered in the garden.

"They fly and they change shape and they can stay up for more than two or three hours and can change shape and colours right in front of your eyes.

"I don't know if they mean any harm or anything like that, but it's pretty out there, y'know?"

And footage taken by a Kiwi man appears to show a blazing UFO in the sky above Manurewa, Auckland.

The video was posted to the "UFO - fan" YouTube page, and quickly went viral.

"This the 12th time that I had recorded this UFO in the last 12 weeks!!" the video owner posted.

"People had been guessing it to be a fireball or a meteor, maybe because their camera didn't zoom-in close enough. I guess it is a craft (ufo) of some sort as I can see a pulsating red headlight in some of my captured videos."

The footage shows a large object travelling through the sky, trailed by twin jets of flame. The unidentified object then appears to change direction in some inexplicable manoeuvre.

"A Jet ?? Can a jeft stopped midair and do this [sic]?" UFO - fan asked.

It's a question that has left viewers puzzled, and searching for explanations.

"Is it Nibiru with the two tails, like a comet?" one person asked.

"When the earth is in conjunction with Mars it will really start big time.. they will be hopping off Mars and coming to earth by the hundreds or maybe thousands..  they come in on hyper drive and use Jupiter's gravity to slow down," a commenter argued.

"I have had very lucid dreams of this, how the Intergalactic Federation fended off an invasion of predator ships that looked like that coming in," another said.

Pre-Māori settlement of New Zealand

Was New Zealand inhabited by European races long before arrived?

Self-proclaimed Northland historian Noel Hilliam says yes. He made headlines when he was accused of grave-robbing after taking Māori skulls from grave sites.

He then sent human remains overseas for forensic examination and facial reconstruction - which appeared to support his beliefs.

"People known in your country as Turehu originated from Wales over 3000 years ago and those known as Waitaha originated from the Mediterranean," the overseas pathologist told him, according to the Northern Advocate in an article they have since removed.

In 2012, Mr Hilliam co-authored a book called To the End of the Earth in which it claimed famed Māori demi-god Maui wasn't Polynesian, but an ancient Egyptian navigator.

However his claims of humans in Aotearoa before Māori have been substantially rubbished by qualified archaeologists, notably in a thorough article published by Vice.

The Canterbury panther

Canterbury is reportedly the stalking ground of a giant black panther.

It's described somewhere in size between a Labrador dog and a cow. Sightings have increased this century, to around every two or three years.

In 2001, Marcus Ewart and David Tutton described seeing a big, black panther-like cat near Canterbury's Alford Forest.

It reappeared two years later in the Ashburton Gorge and has been seen occasionally since then.

Department of Conservation officials have denied its existence, arguing the large feline is merely a large feral cat.

But those who have seen the beast say it's far too large to be anything but a large black panther or puma.

Lorde's secret onion ring Instagram account

This conspiracy theory made international headlines - and later proved to be true.

It started when Newshub's brave and intrepid reporter Anna Bracewell-Worrall was tipped off to the existence of an onion rings Instagram account, believed to be Kiwi superstar singer Lorde's.

Bracewell-Worrall followed a digital trail of evidence to build a compelling case, and broke the "massively random" (according to the BBC) story of the Instagram account.

The Newshub investigation revealed the account which reviewed onion rings from around the world and was just followed by just a few people, appeared to coincide with wherever Lorde was performing.

The story got picked up globally; in Australia, the US and the UK.

And Lorde owned up to being the onion ring expert during an appearance on Jimmy Fallon's talk show.

When Fallon asked if she was the owner of the account, Lorde confirmed "it's me". The songstress added she was "so embarrassed".

"I naively didn't realise that it would be a thing that I was going to different places and trying the onion rings at each of those places.

"It was a funny thing with my friends on tour."