Orca spotted catching some 'rays

02:49, Mar 04 2014

A morning outing has resulted in a close encounter with four orcas for Auckland beachgoers.

Korrin Laker and her husband Glenn were at Maraetai Beach on Sunday about 11.30am when Glenn started filming a stingray he spotted in the shallows.

The stingray had some company, and they soon realised it was being chased by four orca whales that were just a few metres from the shoreline, and from one particularly brave woman in the water.

Laker's aunt had been swimming in the water about 15 minutes before the whales were sighted.

"She was swimming for ages and it freaked her out when she saw them after."

Whale Rescue co-founder Jo Halliday said it was quite normal to spot orca that comprised part of the resident population that travelled all around New Zealand's coastline.

"There's under 200 of them...they're all over the show, over every part of the coastline in different groups.

"A lot of the time when they're going in quite close into the shallows like that they're more likely to be hunting things like stingrays and eagle rays.

"That's quite normal, they're just full on hunting."

Orcas were not generally a danger to people, but caution was advised.

"It's common sense really, if you're in an area where they're hunting you're probably best to just stand up on the beach and wait for them to finish doing their thing and just enjoy watching them rather than interfere with any of that," Halliday said.

"They've got to live too, and that's their way of surviving, getting in and getting fed and if there are people interfering with that it might make it a bit tricky for them.

"But generally speaking they're just getting on with their own business doing their own thing."