Visitors to Pilot Bay were yesterday treated to the sight of a Southern Right Whale cruising along the shores of Pilot Bay.

Brothers Paul and Hermy Arnold said they were both from Mount Maunganui but had never seen anything like it in the harbour before.

"It was a big whale. It attracted quite a large gathering," Paul said.

Department of Conservation senior ranger Yuin Khai Foong said the whale was likely to be larger than 6m long because a Southern Right Whale of that size would still be a dependant calf.

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"Adults are around the 14-15m range but can get up to 18m with calves in the 4.5-6m range."

He said the callosities on its head and lack of dorsal fin were traits of a Southern Right Whale, also known as a Tohora. When it blows, the shape of the blow in its signature "V" shape, he said.