A pair of orca paid a New Year's Eve visit to holiday hotspot Mount Maunganui this morning.

What appeared to be a mother and calf were spotted hunting stingray close to the shore in Pilot Bay, a popular spot for swimmers and kayakers.

Tauranga resident Ali Holmes-Sciascia and her daughter Rosie Laurenson were setting off from Pilot Bay on their walk around the Mauao base track about 8.45 when they spotted a small group of people, including two men in wetsuits, staring at the bay.

Splashing around in the shadows, mere metres from the shoreline, were the two orca.


Holmes-Sciascia said the larger orca was turning on her back and exposing her belly.

She had seen orca before walking around Mauao, but never so close to shore or in such shallow water.

"It was very exciting. Especially when we saw the stingray doing a runner."

The pair hung around for around five minutes before they headed out into the bay, still hugging the shoreline headed towards the Port of Tauranga.