Why hundreds of baby sharks were seen 'sunbathing' at Great Barrier Island

Last week, hundreds of sharks were spotted sunbathing in shallow waters off Great Barrier Island.

Incredible drone footage showed the juvenile sharks swimming close to the shore of Tryphena, a town on the island located in the outer Hauraki Gulf.

The footage showed droves of sharks gliding through the water.

It makes for fascinating viewing, but the question is - why were they all so close to shore?

Shark scientist Riley Elliot told MagicTalk's Leah Panapa there was nothing unusual about them being there.

"They're sharing the same space because perhaps that environment is indicative of [the sharks] being safe because it's shallow and it's warm and it's a good place for the little guys to hang out," Elliot said.

These days, New Zealanders generally have a positive perception of sharks, Elliot said. He explained that's reflective of our healthy marine ecosystem.

While the ocean's conditions change, Elliot believes the sharks could remain there for the next three weeks should the environment stay the same.

"It [really] just depends on what the ocean does," Elliot told MagicTalk on Monday.

"They're there for a reason - likely to hide away from predators." 

Elliot said the sharks are an integral part of the marine ecosystem. 

He said because the sharks are babies they are of no danger. However, he added it wasn't recommended people get in the water with them - that's because they are still wild, majestic creatures.

"It's [the ocean] their backyard, not ours - respect it, appreciate it, and enjoy it," Elliot said.