A pod of orca enjoyed a day of surfing and eating in Mount Maunganui, to the delight of locals.
Tauranga photographer Erin Armstrong has dreamed of photographing orca swimming in the surf for years.
On Sunday, that dream came true and the images she captured were certainly worth the wait.
"I'm still buzzing," she said.
"Growing up in Whakatāne, my dad went for a horse ride early in the morning and happened to see orca playing in the surf. I was like 'wow, that would be the coolest thing to see'.
"Obviously, now we know they weren't playing, they were feeding but ever since then it has been a bucket-list thing for me. It was just incredible, the most magnificent thing to see - just how big and powerful but also intelligent they are."
Armstrong spent 12 years working as a press photographer, back when film and darkrooms were being used.
She recently got back into photography, though now digital rather than film, as a hobby, with plans to use it as a side business.
"I'm getting back into it and I'm loving it. I'm happiest behind a camera and the digital world of photography is just incredible.
"I have had some amazing opportunities but there's something about getting the shot. There was a moment on the beach on Sunday when I had a quick look at the shot I hoped I'd got.
"You never really know looking at that little screen on the back of the camera, but I had a moment of 'oh my god, I think I've got the shot'. It's just so exciting, it's what you strive to do."
Armstrong said she was extremely grateful to the Omanu Surf Club members who cut their IRB training short to let the orca pass through safely.
Tauranga's Steven Morris, a self-confessed orca admirer, said friends of his spotted the pod heading towards Mauao and let him know.
"I'm a big fan of orcas, which my friends know, and I was lucky enough to swim with some a few months ago," he said.
"My friends saw them very close to shore at Rabbit Island and heading towards the Mount, so me and my girlfriend jumped in the car and headed out there."
Their willingness to drop everything and go paid off as Morris was able to capture videos and photos of the pod making its way around Mauao.
"They were extremely close to the shore. I'm no marine biologist but it was pretty obvious they were looking for stingrays to feed on.
"There were only three in the pod, it looked like a big male one, certainly a smaller baby looking one, and I'm assuming the other was the mother.
"It was really cool. A lot of people came off the base track for a look and enjoyed the experience too. I do a lot of ocean swimming and inadvertently swam into a small pod about five years ago.
"I was just stoked. I was taken aback by how big and awesome they were, and just so intelligent that they don't harm humans. Ever since that, I dreamed of them joining me again."
Department of Conservation Tauranga ranger Karl McCarthy said it was "very common" to have orca near the shore.
"They were likely part of the New Zealand coastal orca population which numbers less than 200," he said.
"They predominantly feed on sharks and rays."
McCarthy said orca would swim near the shore at any time of year and in any weather conditions.
"Viewing orca from shore is the best way to view them. There are a series of rules when on the water that the public need to be aware of such as staying at least 50m away from whales including orca and only having three vessels within 300m.
"Members of the public are encouraged to go out with experienced marine mammal tourist operators who hold permits from the Department of Conservation. They are well trained and experienced in interacting with marine mammals.
"They also know their seasonal movements and where best to find them. Swimming with orca is a breach of the Marine Mammal Protection and can lead to infringement fines or prosecution."