A rare white whale spotted in the Cook Strait last year has been identified as the famous Migaloo, often seen in Australian waters.
A whale thought to be the distinctive creature was seen last July by researchers taking part in the annual Cook Strait whale survey.
The survey is a partnership between the Department of Conservation (DoC) and OMV New Zealand.
DoC has this morning said the humpback seen last year was indeed Migaloo; confirmed by DNA analysis on a skin sample taken at the time.
Cook Strait whale survey leader Nadine Bott said researchers had strongly believed the humpback they saw was Migaloo.
But to have it confirmed was exciting.
"I was confident it was Migaloo, but it's good to have it supported by DNA results which give us 99.99 per cent certainty it was him.
"Migaloo being in New Zealand waters supports the findings from our Cook Strait research that humpbacks seen off eastern Australia also move through our waters and perhaps even more so than we had thought.
"This has been indicated particularly by matches of photos of humpback whales seen during our survey with photos of humpbacks off eastern Australia."
Migaloo -- which translates as "white fella" in the Aboriginal language -- was first sighted 25 years ago in Australia and is thought to have been the first albino whale seen around the world.
There are only four white whales ever recorded worldwide and Migaloo is thought to have fathered two white calves often spotted on Australia's eastern coast.