Video: Local orca 'Pickles' greets kayakers in Tauranga Harbour

A group of friends out kayaking in Tauranga harbour were treated to rare sighting of a pod of orca whales - featuring local celebrity whale, Pickles.

The well-known orca is instantly recognisable by the large notch in his dorsal fin. Source: Supplied

Jade Buitendag and her friends had originally set out on their kayaking mission in search of eagle rays, but were happy none the less with the substitute they discovered.

"After kayaking around for a bit we were blessed with a visit from a pod of orca whales, including the well known Pickles," Ms Buitendag said.

"What a privilege to live in the world's most beautiful country."

Killer whales can be found in all oceans but studies suggest they seem to prefer coastal waters and cooler regions.