Locals have slammed the actions of jet skiers amid claims they got too close to a pod of dolphins in Wellington harbour.

About 30 or 40 dolphins swam around the waters of the capital yesterday delighting spectators in Oriental Bay and Evans Bay.

Local resident Mark Gee said the dolphins often chased the fish around to Evans Bay.

Jetskiers and water-skiers were close to dolphins/whales in Wellington harbour. Photo / Mark Gee
Jetskiers and water-skiers were close to dolphins/whales in Wellington harbour. Photo / Mark Gee

The award-winning photographer, who works as a visual effects supervisor, could not resist the chance to take a couple of snaps of the dolphins.


There were a hundred or so people gathered on the shoreline to see the pod, he said.

READ MORE: Young girl's incredible encounter with dolphins in Bay of Islands

However, the pod of dolphins was disrupted by a pair of young men on a jet ski who he said "ploughed" through the group.

"I was quite shocked to see them do that," Gee said.

They kept going round and round chasing the pod, he said, adding he could hear them "yahooing" as they carried on.

"They definitely split the pod up."

Gee said it was disappointing to see, considering most people knew better and were pretty good around dolphins.

He praised a nearby boatie who he believed "flagged them down and gave them a talking to" - prompting the duo to take off.

Wellington City Council spokeswoman Victoria Barton-Chapple said while it was great to see "wildlife flourishing in the reserves and sea", it was also important to remind the public that dolphins were wild and needed to be treated as such.

"We recommend any incidents, where wildlife needs a helping hand, to be reported to the Department of Conservation through the 0800 DOC HOT line, so their trained experts can come to the rescue."

The Herald has sought comment from DoC.

Similar concerns emerged last year after the public was captivated by a whale which took up residence in Wellington Harbour for several days. It sparked warnings from DoC and the council about keeping a safe distance from the animal.

People are required to keep at least 50 metres from marine mammals.

Marine mammal laws

• The Marine Mammals Protection Regulations 1992 list the conditions governing behaviour around marine mammals.

• Commercial tourist operators require permits and are subject to further rules.

• All seals, sea lions, dolphins and whales are protected under the Marine Mammals Protection Act 1978. It's an offence to harass, disturb, injure or kill marine mammals.

• Anyone charged with harassing, disturbing, injuring or killing a marine mammal faces a maximum penalty of two years' imprisonment or a fine up to $250,000.

Source: Department of Conservation