About half a dozen orca were seen hunting stingray north of Auckland this morning.
Christopher-Desmond "Des" Roland spotted the pod about 9.30am before jumping in a boat and heading out on to Mahurangi Harbour for a closer look.
He said he could see what looked like two orca calves being taught how to fish by their mum as they chased a "flapping stingray".
The 34-year-old took a series of photos of the pod, which numbered about five or six, and showed them chasing stingray as some scrappy gulls circled overhead.
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A regular visitor to Mahurangi Harbour, Roland said it was "rare" to see so many orca - which are a member of the dolphin family - enter the shallow Mahurangi Harbour.
He recalled only one earlier sighting so close to shore.
Last week, rescuers freed an orca east of Waiheke Island after it became entangled in a crayfish line.
The male orca was first spotted off Tutukaka on December 23 caught in the line, which still had a buoy attached.
After several attempts to free him, he was finally able to swim away last Friday.
The line was continuing to cut deeper into the orca and would have eventually severed its fin and killed it, Orca Research Trust founder and principal scientist Ingrid Visser said.