Cameraman Larryn Rae has captured extraordinary pictures of the Aurora Australis in Auckland after heading out to the Waitakeres "on a whim" during a geomagnetic storm.
Rae, 39, had spent a week in the South Island and headed home, having failed to catch his first glimpse of the phenomenon.
But late on Monday night he was alerted to the fact that there was a high KP reading, indicating that geomagnetic activity was high enough there could be a chance of seeing the many-hued aurora from Auckland.
He and friends headed out to secluded Huia at the end of the Waitakeres. From there they had a view south over the Manukau. Rae could see a glow on the horizon that he knew from experience wasn't light pollution from the city.
"The hard thing about shooting around Auckland is the city glow is crazy. But we turned up and we were looking south and I could see a faint glow with the naked eye - I thought, I wonder if that's the aurora."
His first long exposure shot confirmed his suspicions. "Right from that first frame I was buzzing - I was snapping photos like crazy.
"We only had a window of two hours between the cloud, and geomagnetic storms come in waves - they intensify and drop off - so I didn't think it would be possible to get it. We just went on a whim, hoping."
Rae had heard "rumours and tales" that the Southern Lights could be seen from Auckland, but conditions would have to be perfect, including clear skies and a KP reading of 5 or above.
"Apparently last time they were shot from Auckland was two or three years ago. So it's a really rare phenomenon to be able to capture it from here."
Spectacular shots of the aurora have been regularly posted from the deep South, which is closer to the magnetic pole.
WHAT IS THE AURORA AUSTRALIS?
The aurora is the result of particles in solar winds colliding with atmospheric gases.
The particles converge and become more visible close to the poles of the earth.
Its better-known cousin is the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, which draws millions of tourists to Nordic countries each year.