Kaitaia man Bruce Buckby was busy taking photos from his home in Church Rd on Tuesday evening as the sun set over the hills behind Ahipara. And the view was no ordinary one.

"The Australian forest fires have lofted huge amounts of smoke and ash into the mid and upper layers of the troposphere, which has drifted more than 2000km to New Zealand for the past several weeks," he said.

Kaitaia airport particulate filters have accumulated large amounts of this smoke/ash debris. When the filters are compressed for analysis they emit a distinct odour of wood smoke.

"On Tuesday evening the sun's luminosity [near the horizon] was reduced to such an extent that it could be directly observed by the human eye, and easily photographed without using filters."