Video: 'It was a pretty awesome experience' - diver comes face to face with three huge orcas

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A man diving off an island near the Coromandel at the weekend was eyeballed by three "big black and white" faced orcas.

The 35-year-old builder from Hamilton, Hamish Stewart, was diving for scallops off Rangipukea Island on Sunday when he was confronted by three huge killer whales.

Mr Stewart's encounter was captured on video by his sister, Kylie Strongman, who said the whales looked as long as their 6.8m boat.

He was warned to surface when his father, who was also on the boat, revved the engine, a signal for experienced divers to surface, Radio New Zealand reports.

Quickly coming up above the water, Mr Stewart's mask was filled with water, which was a good thing he said, as he was unable to see one of the whales swimming directly below him.

"They're coming right to you," Ms Strongman can be heard yelling in the video.

The warning caused her brother to duck back underwater only to come face-to-face with one of the whales.

He said it felt like he was staring at the orca for "forever".

"Now that I look back it was a pretty awesome experience," he told RNZ.

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