Footage of dolphins playing near boats in the Hauraki Gulf shot on Sunday is proof of the paradise we live in, the woman who filmed it says.

Katja May was out for a day on the water this weekend when a group of dolphins swam up to the 12m launch she was in.

"They were all around us, it was pretty awesome," she said.

"They were coming up to the boats, communicating with us, turning their bellies upside down. It was amazing."


About two other boats were in the Gulf harbour and May said her skipper made a point of cruising at a slow speed while the dolphins were in the area.

"They just came up to the boat - it was hard to leave them behind."

May, who is originally from Germany but has lived in New Zealand for 11 years, said these kind of experiences were why she loved living here.

"I really think we live in paradise."

May runs an eco-tour company, Blue Voluntours, which offers tourists the chance to sightsee as well as help look after the marine environment.

She saw the dolphins once more, cast against the light as the sun was setting and her boat was anchoring after returning from the day trip.

"I've seen them a few times but this was very special."

To watch the full video, click here.