Expatriate Kiwi Craig Harman's festive holidays got a special boost when he had this close encounter with a group of orcas in the Waitemata Harbour.

The London-based television cameraman was in Auckland visiting his parents when the orcas, including two youngsters, surrounded the family boat near Motuihe Island about 4.30pm on Thursday.

"We were on a fishing trip and suddenly eight or nine whales in two groups appeared from nowhere and came over to the boat for a look at us," Harman, 34, said. "It was incredible seeing something so majestic swimming in a city harbour.

"In London, the most exotic thing I have seen was a seal in the River Thames so this was an unforgettable experience."