Mystery lights 'similar' to 1978
Mysterious "orangey and reddish lights" spotted in skies above Napier, Taranaki and Christchurch were a day too late to be Santa's sleigh but could they be UFOs?
Reports of strange objects in the sky on Boxing Day have been made in three separate locations, with the first sighting of the moving orange lights in Taranaki on Sunday night.
However, the Canterbury Astronomical Society is convinced the Christchurch lights were satellites.
In Hawera, Allan White and his family spotted the "bright orange light" moving towards them about 9.40pm, before heading south.
They watched the light for about five minutes, and once it had disappeared began questioning whether or not it was a UFO.
"I just thought it was a bright orange light in the sky and then it started moving towards us," Mr White said. "After it flew past, there were half a dozen adults there, we all considered it could have been a UFO. Nobody had seen anything like that before."
Each witness could make out flashing lights on the object as it made its way across the sky.
Soon afterwards, Fraser Duncan, a graphics tutor from the Eastern Institute of Technology, said he was "stunned" when he saw four orange lights crossing the sky above Napier just before 10pm. The lights were flying soundlessly in formation towards the South Island. "I have never seen anything like this in my life. It was definitely not a plane, not a meteor and not stars."
To add to the mystery, a TVNZ cameraman who filmed the 1978 UFO sightings near Kaikoura reported seeing the unexplained lights at 10.30pm the same night.
Lloyd McFadden, then 27, filmed the lights near Kaikoura.
Sunday night's sighting happened above his home in Redwood, Christchurch. He said he saw 10 lights travelling slowly in formation, without any noise.
"There was absolutely no sound and they were flying too slow to be an aircraft. I would really like to know what they were."
The lights were similar to the unexplained Kaikoura lights that he filmed more than 30 years ago.
"I couldn't give an explanation about what they were, but I would dearly love to know. I think it would more likely be a natural phenomenon or have something to do with earthquake activity than aliens from outer space."
Mr McFadden's wife Ina also saw the lights.
"All you could see was orangey and reddish lights, like fireballs. They were moving at a steady pace and went right over the top of us. There was no noise at all.
"I don't know what it would be, but there was something there and I hadn't even been drinking."
Mr McFadden believed the objects were moving about 20kmh to 30kmh, and were about 1000 metres above their house.
But Canterbury Astronomical Society observatory director Adrian Kelly said the sightings would probably have been satellites. "I am certainly saying they were satellites. They are travelling on straight trajectories in an arc."