Stunning photo shows Wellington's beloved whale frolicking off south coast as Air NZ plane flies overhead

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The southern right whale which has been visiting Wellington Harbour over the past week, delighting locals, appears to be moving on.

Photographer Victor Huang spotted the mammal, affectionately named Matariki, waving from the water off Wellington's south coast about 8am today.

An image of the Wellington southern right whale, captured off the southern coast at 8am on July 11.

An image of the Wellington southern right whale, captured off the southern coast at 8am on July 11.

Source: Victor Huang - victorhuang.co

The rare sighting came a little too close for comfort when the whale breached and landed near the researchers’ boat.
Source: 1 NEWS

"Thank you for your magical grace and for bringing everyone in Wellington together with your wonderful presence!" Mr Huang wrote.

The huge marine mammal has been in the harbour for a few days, and today it was especially active.
Source: 1 NEWS

NIWA says the whale - which has not been identified as male or female yet - is likely heading north away from sub-antarctic waters where it feeds over summer.

The whales have been recorded in increasing numbers near New Zealand over past decades, but at one point in recent history their numbers were decimated by commercial whaling.

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