By RNZ

Two orcas have been filmed swimming in a popular estuary north of Auckland, filled with holiday-makers.

Claudia Linturn saw the pair heading up the estuary at Mangawhai Heads, a popular swimming spot, and returning out to sea about half an hour later.

The video shows people in the water 20 or 30 metres away.

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Linturn said it was an incredible sight, and a perfect way to end the year.

"There were quite a few people on the beach. Everyone just grabbed their phone and started recording," she said.

"It was so amazing - and especially on New Year's Eve, it doesn't really get better than that."

On Saturday an orca which was trapped in a cray fishing line was freed by the Department of Conservation and orca expert Dr Ingrid Visser of the Orca Research Trust.

Orcas, often called killer whales, are the largest member of the dolphin family.

They're not usually a threat to people. DoC said the species is the most widely distributed non-human mammal on earth, and can live up to 80 or 90 years.

-RNZ