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A pod of killer whales has been sighted close to shore in the eastern bays of Auckland Harbour today.

The pod of at least eight orcas halted traffic on Auckland's Tamaki Drive as onlookers flocked to watched them swimming only 15-20m from the shoreline.

The orcas, which were sighted around midday, included two calves. They were also sighted by an Auckland Coastguard boat and Westpac Rescue helicopter, both en-route to jobs.

A spokesperson from Fullers Ferry services, Lucy Farrington, said it is always exciting for passengers when orcas come into the harbour.

Ms Farrington said the pod swam past the Hilton Hotel around 2pm and was now located at Birkenhead.