Tracey Maris went to the park on Easter Sunday to get close to nature - but she wasn't planning to get stuck in a giant cobweb teeming with baby spiders.

Her family were at Gordon Spratt Reserve in Papamoa to play some football in the Easter sunshine when she and her daughter noticed an odd gleaming on the nearby tsunami evacuation mound.

They headed up the hill to investigate, and as they got closer realised they were looking at a ribbon of cobwebs stretching some 30m to Papamoa college.

Although it was a still day, strands of web fluttered in the sunlight.


The giant cobweb almost seemed like a huge spider's nest, but "we thought surely there are no spiders inside that", Maris said.

"We walked further up, and our feet started getting stuck in the cobwebs - and then we noticed little black things on top.

"So as you do we screamed really loudly. Oh my god, they were everywhere - literally thousands of them."

When her husband and stepson came to investigate the spiders immediately started crawling up her son's legs.

She whipped out her phone to get proof. "It was just fascinating - I've never seen anything like it in my life."

Thankfully her arachnophobic oldest daughter wasn't at the park. The youngest was "absolutely fascinated because it was beautiful", she says.

Up close, thousands of tiny spiders were visible. Photo/Supplied
Up close, thousands of tiny spiders were visible. Photo/Supplied

When the family returned to their bikes they too were covered in cobwebby wisps. Back home Maris googled the phenomenon and found a similar phenomenon occurs regularly in Northland when Hikurangi Swamp floods.

Some species of baby spiders spin thin strands of web to help them float in the air and disperse. They are known to use the technique to get to higher ground during flooding.


Maris speculates that after Cyclone Cook the flooding in eastern Papamoa caused all the spiders to congregate on the evacuation mound.