Exceptionally warm water off the east coast and Hauraki Gulf during last summer may be behind more blue whales being seen in the Gulf this winter.
Six of the giant marine mammals, including a mother and calf, were spotted in just one week.
Regularly out on the water, Auckland Whale and Dolphin Safari staff say there are usually 15 sightings a year, and in 18 years they have not seen this many.
Both Pygmy blue whales and the Antarctic ‘true’ blue whales can be seen in our waters. Their populations are still recovering after being severely depleted by commercial whaling last century. Whaling saw the Antarctic population plummet from around 20,000 to under 2,000.