Video: Migrating whales spotted in Whangarei Harbour


A video has emerged of a pair of humpback whales making an appearance close to shore near Whangarei Harbour ahead of breeding season.

The footage shows the duo slapping their pectoral fins on the surface of the water - an act believed to be a display of relaxation, and perhaps an attempt at communication with other whales.

Department of Conservation (DOC) threats ranger Neil Forrester said the humpbacks were likely making their way north to warmer waters in preparation for breeding - but says it's rare for whales to be seen in enclosed waters.

However he says sightings in our waters may become more common in the future as the whale population starts to replenish after years of hunting around the New Zealand coast.

Mr Forrester believes the pair were likely stopping inside the Whangarei Harbour for a break from their migration, as there was a calf sighted with the adult.

Humpbacks travel to the tropics during the winter months to give birth to their young, before heading to Antarctica during summer, where they feed on krill.

DOC says whale sightings are valuable and help increase their understanding of whale distribution and movements off the New Zealand coast, and encourage the public to notify them when a whale is seen.

Anyone with information on whale whereabouts can contact the DOC hotline on 0800 DOCHOT (0800 362 468).