Was it a bird? Was it a plane? Was it a bird striking a plane?
The exploding fireball which reportedly crashed to earth in or around Lake Waikare, near Te Kauwhata, on Sunday afternoon has so far proved a mystery.

It might have been the most exciting event to occur in Te Kauwhata since the last police booze sting, but witness Grace Walters could only conclude it was "one of those things".

The Rescue Co-ordination Centre New Zealand was alerted after eyewitnesses saw a ball of flames going down over the lake and heard an explosion.

However, after helicopters and rescue boats searched the area and fire services talked to farmers with nearby properties the search was called off.

"I saw it drop down, but couldn't see it hit the water for the trees," Mrs Walters said.

"It's one of those things - a mystery."

No aircraft had been reported overdue and police had not received calls from anyone missing friends or family.

Steve Calveley, president of the Auckland Astronomical Society, said it could have been a meteorite.

"An awful lot get reported but few get found," he said.

"It is pretty rare that someone can pinpoint where they land."