Large pod of dolphins shows off impressive hunting strategy north of Auckland

A large pod of dolphins was seen hunting north of Auckland this morning, with one local saying their visits have been frequent lately.

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The bottlenose dolphins were seen hunting close to Arkles Bay. Source: Supplied

Professor James Dale, who lives close to Arkles Bay on the Whangaparāoa Peninsula, took video of a pod of about 15 dolphins swimming in formation at about 9.30 this morning.

Mr Dale is a professor of zoology at Massey University, and was fascinated by the behaviour.

He said the presence of dolphins in the Karepiro Bay was encouraging, and could be the result of increased fish species there due to the marine reserve declared in 1995.

"We've lived in this area for around five years and there are definitely a lot more dolphins around now," he said. "This was a big group - there were at least 15 individuals.

"There's been a pod of dolphins kind of lingering around the peninsula ... It seems like this pod has been around for the past few weeks.

"The last couple of weeks there have been a lot more sightings. They typically come in a bit more during the late winter."

The dolphins could be seen moving at speed in a formation, which Mr Dale said is believed to be a hunting tactic called "line abreast".

In this formation, dolphins line up next to each other and swim towards prey while porpoising above and below the surface.

As they drive the prey, the dolphines on the ends of the row swim a little faster and in towards to rest, herding the prey together before lunging.

"It was really dramatic - it was really, really cool to see it," Mr Dale said.