A pod of up to seven orca wowed a rapidly increasing crowd from all corners in Napier, as they fed on stingray off Westshore yesterday.

Local Jon Andrews had a prime position, with the creatures not far from his boat.

Andrews, who works for Star Fish Supply, was on his way to Napier Port for a log recovery callout when he noticed the pod.

"I followed them for a while from Whakarire Ave down to around the Surf Club. There were at least six or seven. I could clearly see a big bull and several cows and at least two calves," Andrews said.


He has previously seen them in the channel outside the Hawke's Bay Sports Fishing Club and several times around the coast when he goes fishing.

But for Tinopai Sea Harvesting co-owner Sharon Wheatley, seeing the same pod several hours later in Ahuriri was "incredible".

"We are doing fish sales off the wharf now and we just happened to be here when they came in. They went right up to where the piers are near the yacht club and then they came back up and went up the Iron Pot (Scapa Flow).

She said the animals stayed around for about half an hour.

During that time, people were flocking from the street to catch a glimpse, Wheatley said.

Orca Research Trust founder and principal scientist Dr Ingrid Visser confirmed that a female, a sub-adult male and a juvenile were in the pod.

"They were likely hunting for rays along the shoreline," Dr Visser said.

She stressed that people out boating should remember the law; no closer than 50 metres and no faster than five knots around the orca.


If people saw orca, Dr Visser urged people to call the 0800 SEE ORCA (0800 733 6722) number.