Orca 'super-pod' in Whangarei Harbour

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A pod of orca chases stringrays in Whangarei Harbour yesterday. Photo / Michael Cunningham
A pod of orca chases stringrays in Whangarei Harbour yesterday. Photo / Michael Cunningham

A "super pod" of about 25 orcas have been socialising and hunting stringrays in the Whangarei Harbour.

Northland orca expert Ingrid Visser said the orca were first sighted at 8am yesterday in Reotahi and a second sighting was made at Parua Bay.

The pod included a male orca called Ben, who had previously stranded off Mangawhai Heads in 1997 and another named Putita who had stranded on Ruakaka beach in 2010.

Then there was brother and sister, Funky Monkey and Pickle, and A1- an adult female spotted under the Auckland Harbour Bridge in 1988.

A new calf was also among the pod seen in the harbour yesterday.

An orca in Whangarei Harbour. Photo / Michael Cunningham
An orca in Whangarei Harbour. Photo / Michael Cunningham

The orca swam into a little basin between the Onerahi foreshore past the boat ramp and Limestone Island.

"I've never seen so many orca in that area before. It was fantastic to see so many of them socialising and hunting," Dr Visser said.

She said the super pod was seen in the greater Hauraki area three weeks ago and they could stay in the harbour for a few days or only a few hours.

She urged people who see orca to call the 0800 SEE ORCA hotline.

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