Orca spotted near shore in Whangapoua

Three orca have been spotted swimming just metres from the shore at Whangapoua beach.

They were captured on film by Richard Upton, and his wife spotted them while out running early on Wednesday morning.

She hurried home to get their kids Indigo, Mahe and Sage, "who resisted because they were still in their pyjamas" but eventually made it down.

Mr Upton said the orca were swimming about five metres from the shore and it was "absolutely stunning".

The orca stayed close to the shore for about half an hour, possibly feeding on stingray in the wave break.

The Orca were very close to the shore at Whangapoua Beach.
The Orca were very close to the shore at Whangapoua Beach. Photo credit: Supplied

New Zealand is home to 150 - 200 orca, according to the DOCS, which travel long distances along the coastal waters.

Here is DOC's advice about what to do if you see orca in the water:  

  • Do not swim within 100 m of a killer whale/orca.
  • Your vessel should not be within 50 m of a killer whale.
  • There should be no more than three vessels within 300 m of any marine mammal, additional vessels may watch from 300 m.
  • Your vessel should approach orca from behind and to the side.
  • Do not circle them, obstruct their path or cut through any group.
  • Operate your boat slowly and quietly at 'no wake' speed when within 300 m of a killer whale.
  • Avoid sudden noises that could startle the animals.

Sightings of orca can be reported by calling 0800 DOC HOT.

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