Video captures pod of orcas frolicking around surfer near Auckland

A Kiwi surfer has had a "dream" experience after a pod of orcas swam up to him off the coast of Auckland.

The magical moment was caught on camera as a group of surfers watched in awe as the pod circled their mate.

Chris 'Salty Bushman' Bailey was wake surfing near Rangitoto Island with a couple of mates when a pod of about eight orcas swam up to him.

"It was out the gate," Bailey told Newshub.

"I've spent my whole life in the ocean… These would be one animal that it's always been my dream to get that close to."

Bailey has had previous encounters with orcas while out spearfishing but for him, this one was unlike any before.

As the pod of orcas circled him, one, who Bailey believed was the mother orca, swam right underneath him opening her mouth as if she was smiling at him.

"I put my hand down to touch its arm and it belly rolled underneath me. It was sick. They must know so much about us to let us be," he said.

"They're awesome creatures."

Video captures pod of orcas frolicking around surfer near Auckland
Photo credit: Minni Uotinen

Despite orcas earning the nickname 'killer whale', Bailey said he wasn't fearful of the pod.

"I like to believe how friendly they are," he said. "The fear wasn't really there."

While orcas are apex predators with quite a reputation, according to the Department of Conservation there are no records of deliberate fatal attacks on humans.

There are estimated to be around 150 to 200 orca in New Zealand waters but despite the low population numbers there have been plenty of encounters with the curious mammal. 

Just last week a pod of orca was spotted swimming metres from the coastline at Waipū Cove, Northland.

While a few months ago an Auckland swimmer had a pod swim towards him in the shallow waters of Thorne Bay Beach.

DoC said pods of orca are known to venture into Wellington Harbour throughout spring and summer looking for a unique food source. 

Orcas are also often seen exploring the northern end of the harbour and the Kāpiti Coast, but found can be spotted swimming all throughout New Zealand's coastline.