Sightseers on Auckland's North Shore were dazzled at the weekend after a beach was lit up by bioluminescent algae.
The phenomenon is caused by glowing algae that light up when disturbed.
Massey University associate professor Dr Ruggiero Lovreglio was taking students to photograph the Milky Way galaxy when he saw lights in the water.
After investigating further, he recognised the glowing water from pictures he had seen previously.
Lovreglio said he had heard about glowing algae in other parts of the country, but never in Auckland.
"We were, the three of us, shocked to see something so beautiful in front of us," he said.
"It was something out of this world. I know that it was something natural, but it looked like something really beyond our expectation."
Lovreglio said his students were blown away by how beautiful the glowing waves were.