A filter-feeding whale shark has been spotted cruising the Bay of Islands and is the second sighting of the impressive species of giant fish in as many months.
This time the biggest fish in the ocean was near the Nine Pin at the entrance to the Bay of Islands on Saturday.
Last month, jetskiers on a tour to the Hole in the Rock were treated to a close encounter that latest about 20 minutes.
This summer the ocean water has been warmer than usual but Whangarei marine conservationist Wade Doak said his observations were the fish normally turned up in the Bay of Islands about this time of year.
"This is the typical time of year when we see these migratory filter feeders. And while we don't have an abundance of sightings, the reports are repeated at this time of the year."
Doak said just this week Facebook memories alerted him to a sighting this time three years ago.
The latest encounter was spotted by Scott Turton, who posted pictures of the fish on Facebook.
"I'd say a pretty young one, must've been 6-7 metres long, by itself also, another spotted about 6 weeks ago other side of the Bay but even bigger. Really awesome to see," Turton said.
Turton said the fish was near the Nine Pin. The whale shark is a slow-moving, filter-feeding carpet shark and the largest known extant fish species.
They occasionally visit northern New Zealand waters from November to March. Most sightings are made in February. The Department of Conservation says those found in New Zealand have been between 3m and 15m.
Early this month jetskiers near Whangamata, riding towards the Aldermen Islands, spotted a whale shark.
The distinct markings and giant, wide mouth helped identity it.