A sick turtle has been nursed back to health at Kelly Tarlton's aquarium in Auckland after a diver found it ailing underwater at Whangarei Heads.

"Toby", a grey spotted turtle, had not surfaced for a long time when the diver found it, and was "behaving abnormally".

Kelly Tarlton's marketing manager Hannah Stantiall said the diver brought the sick creature to Auckland and the aquarium gave him medication for about six weeks to restore it to health.

He was released from quarantine on August 15 into the turtle bay near the cafe at the aquarium, where the public can now see him.

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Toby the turtle, pictured with curator Alyssa Berimballi, is now on public display at Kelly Tarlton's until he is strong enough to release back to the sea. Photo supplied
Toby the turtle, pictured with curator Alyssa Berimballi, is now on public display at Kelly Tarlton's until he is strong enough to release back to the sea. Photo supplied

"Toby reacted really well to medication and made a remarkable recovery. He is now the most agile of all the turtles we have," she said.

"We still need to rehabilitate him after he came out of quarantine to get him used to swimming with other turtles and fish.

"We will release him in November back to the sea where he came from."

Toby features in a video of a baby shark challenge loaded on to the aquarium's Facebook page on Friday.

Toby the rescued turtle gets his shell checked at Kelly Tarlton's. Photo supplied
Toby the rescued turtle gets his shell checked at Kelly Tarlton's. Photo supplied

The aquarium has rehabilitated more than 50 sick or injured turtles since starting a turtle rehabilitation programme in 1995.

Rescued turtles most commonly suffer from dehydration, cold shock and starvation. Other issues include missing limbs or large wounds, bacterial infections and swallowing fish hooks or plastics.

Andrew Christie (left) and Harry Josephson-Rutter released turtles Oscar and Kiwa near Tutukaka in March. File photo
Andrew Christie (left) and Harry Josephson-Rutter released turtles Oscar and Kiwa near Tutukaka in March. File photo

Two green sea turtles, Oscar and Kiwa, were released at the Poor Knights Islands in March after being found suffering from dehydration at Ninety Mile Beach almost two years before.

Clarke Gayford, pictured left with chef Anthony McNamara, helped to release two injured turtles near Tutukaka in March. File photo
Clarke Gayford, pictured left with chef Anthony McNamara, helped to release two injured turtles near Tutukaka in March. File photo

Clarke Gayford, the partner of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and host of the Fish of the Day TV series, helped to release the turtles and tweeted: "Perfect day indeed to release these rehabed turtles."