Holidaymakers rescue beached orca from Papamoa Beach

Holidaymakers in the Bay of Plenty have rescued a killer whale that became stuck in the shallow waters of Papamoa Beach, near Tauranga.

Ben Waru told Newshub he was taking a daily walk along the beach with his wife and children about 8am on Saturday, when he saw a pod of orca playing in the water.

But the delightful scene became dangerous, as one of the orca strayed too close to shore while chasing stingrays, and ran aground.

Mr Waru quickly realised the orca wasn't going anywhere fast and jumped into the water with some friends to help the orca right itself.

They turned the orca to face out to sea and helped lift it so when the waves came, the whale could escape.

The first attempt proved unsuccessful but shortly after, another wave hit and the orca was on its way to rejoin the rest of its pod.

Mr Waru says it was a great experience and he's proud the orca was able to survive.

"I've never touched a whale before in my life and to do that, coming to the end of the year, was just amazing," he said.

"Everybody was just really happy to be able to help out and get this whale back to its family."