An out-of-towner has urged a small Central Hawke's Bay community to capitalise on recent UFO sightings and rebrand as New Zealand's "UFO Alley".
Three alleged sightings in less than an hour in Hawke's Bay sparked speculation of extra-terrestrial activity in the region.
UFO Focus New Zealand, a nationwide UFO research network, received three "separate but similar detailed reports" of large, slow-moving rectangular formation of bright lights in the sky on April 24.
All three are under investigation.
The first incident report, which is alleged to have occurred near State Highway 50, between Ongaonga and Takapau, states the UFO crossed the highway 100 to 300 metres above ground and described seeing a "glow" and "bubble".
The witness first thought it was an aircraft or helicopter, but said it was travelling too slow and low. She could not hear it above the sound of her car engine or see a cockpit or flashing lights.
However, MetService meteorologist Lewis Ferris said the recent sightings are likely to be lenticular cloud, which can take on the shape of a UFO.
Ferris said the westerly winds flowing across the region on April 24 were "perfect for forming lenticular clouds".
"This is very common around the Takapau area," he said.
After reading about the sightings, Nicolas Brown, of Wellington, suggested the area should rebrand as "UFO Alley" or the "Kiwi UFO Highway" to boost tourism in Takapau.
"The locals need to profit from this ongoing phenomena," he said.
"If those who live in the region could create something similar to the extraterrestrial highway experience in the US, I'm sure the by-product would be increased revenue for local businesses."
The extraterrestrial highway, also known as Nevada State Route 375, is a 98-mile stretch of road which has become synonymous with UFO sightings.
"I know if I saw a road sign with 'UFO Highway' on it, I would take that turn," Brown added.
Central Hawke's Bay mayor Alex Walker said she was open to exploring new ways of bringing tourists to CHB.
"This may be another one," she said.
"It may even be a way to convince non-believers like me, if Takapau could show people the unbelievable."
UFOCUS NZ director Suzanne Hansen said she had started the sightings network in 2000 after experiencing a "terrifying" day-time UFO event on SH50 in Hawke's Bay in 1975.
"The lights descended over my car. With such blinding brightness the road and all surroundings could not be seen, and the car rolled to a stop," she said.
Hansen said Hawke's Bay's most notable UFO sighting was at the Waipukurau Aerodrome in 1969.
Brown said when the word gets out and tourism starts up again, "Takapau could be rolling".
"I'm not a marketing executive, but I'm sure if local businesses got together and brainstormed this idea, it could do well for the area," he added.