Dr Ingrid Visser cringes at orca being called "killer whales" - but Killer Whales is the name of a wildlife documentary which features Visser, orca expert from Northland.
"Hmm, well, I guess it could be a description of a highly evolved feeding machine," Ms Visser says of the name north Americans use for orca.
It is thought the name derives from "whale killer", so called by oldtime sailors who observed them hunting whales.
However, orca are dolphins, the largest of thirty-five species in the family.
"The really important thing is that documentaries like this help people learn about orca. The more docos that get out there the more people learn about and respect orca," Ms Visser said.
Killer Whales screened on the Discovery Channel in the USA last week, but Ms Visser hasn't yet seen the one-off programme which includes a segment about her work through the Orca Research Trust she founded. Nor does she know when it will be screened in New Zealand.
Ms Visser's part in the documentary was filmed in Northland last June.
"It was familiar territory. I've been involved in lots of filming, but this one was pretty big because it went on the main Discovery channel."
She has been up close and personal with many of the less than 200 orca living around New Zealand's coast, and has named most of them according to their individual traits.
"They're very intelligent animals, they have individual personalities, and people are drawn to them," Ms Visser said.
She believes scientists have a responsibility to use language which helps the public learn.
"Okay, we could say 'the behaviour they are displaying is advancing their social interaction' but what's wrong with just saying something we all relate to and understand, like 'they're hanging out together, they're playing'?"
The public are already enamoured by orcinus orca the big, beautiful, black and white marine mammals whose "killer" title can be misleading, Ms Visser said. There are no recorded incidents of wild orca intentionally hurting, let alone killing, a human.
Ms Visser said she was always thrilled when a call came on the 0800seeorca hotline to report sightings, which she had set up.