Stargazers around the country were treated to a total lunar eclipse over the weekend - the last chance to witness the spectacle for several years.

As the moon passed through Earth's shadow on Saturday night, reaching full eclipse around 1am yesterday, those who had stayed up saw it turn blood red before passing out of sight for five minutes.

Andrew Buckingham of the Auckland Astronomical Society said the eclipse was shorter than usual, making it all the more "special to see".

Mr Buckingham gathered with fellow society members at his Torbay home, where clear skies gave them a "superb" view from his deck.

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The next total lunar eclipse can be seen from New Zealand in 2018.