The bright white light with a long smoking tail was first seen in the north west and took about a minute to pass from horizon to horizon.
The burning object appeared to break into separate segments during its passage across the sky. The smoke trail was still visible in the fading light 15 minutes after.
Witnesses in Whitianga say the meteor appeared from a direction north of Auckland and passed directly overhead, eventually disappearing in the direction of Tauranga.
Video: Vun Ratu
A loud, distant booming sound was heard a minute or two later.
A group of people celebrating a 21st birthday were delighted. “It’s the best fireworks ever.”
A witness in Auckland described the spectacle as “insane.”
Social media is lighting up with video and photographs from all over the North Island.
Video: Rachel Stringfellow .
Television crews filming the international cricket in Tauranga captured the action live on camera.