© Rogers
A trail left by the meteor, taken from Karori, Wellington.
A spectacular, bright meteor that left a long trail in the sky has stunned witnesses in Wellington and Christchurch tonight. The WeatherWatch website has been inundated with reports of the fireball, which witnesses say rushed across the sky at about 6.30pm. A Nelson resident described it as an "unbelievable'' green, orange and white ball flying past at "super speed'', leaving behind a massive trail that lasted for nearly 10 minutes before dissipating.

A Hanmer Springs resident said they heard "a loud boom'' about two minutes after it streaked past. "Not sure if hit the ground or sonic boom, perhaps the latter, very exciting! Much more exciting than putting the washing out.'' A Wellingtonian said the meteor was "full on magnesium bright and flaming'', while another said it was "almost fluorescent and very intense''.

A Cantabrian said the whole family were excited by the meteor, which came low to the horizon with two bright flashes and trails of smoke. "Like an arc welder torch, it seemed VERY close and low to us, was waiting for the bang it seemed so close and bright, but obviously moving at tremendous speed. I have never seen anything like this!''

Police central communications shift inspector Ken Climo said some of his staff had seen the event and described it as "quite spectacular''.

The Rescue Coordination Centre described it as a contrail, he said.