Maritime New Zealand and the New Zealand Defence Force are investigating an oil spill around islands off Cape Reinga.
Three Kings Islands from the southeast. Photo: Peter Southwood / Wikimedia commons
A fishing vessel reported oil on fishing gear and on a small number of sea birds around the Three Kings Islands group on Monday.
Maritime NZ incident controller Bruce Barton said crew have been trying to determine the extent of the oil spill, any impacts and how it started.
He said a Royal New Zealand Airforce C130 Hercules flew over the area yesterday.
"This flight reported some possible small amounts of oiling on the shores of one of the islands in the group," said Mr Barton.
"Today, we are requesting the NZ Defence Force to fly an aerial reconnaissance flight to obtain images that will provide us with key information."
He said weather in the area is poor.
Mr Barton said it was too early at this stage to know what level of response might be required.