A meteor exploded 80 kilometres above Auckland last night, giving a dramatic light and sound show for those lucky enough to see it.

It was seen over a wide area of the North Island but most prominently in Auckland.

Auckland's Stardome Observatory education officer David Britten said it would have been an amazing sight - but their astronomers were not among those to witness it.

He said the sighting reports suggested it was more likely to be a meteor than a piece of space junk.

"The way it exploded, points to a meteor."

He said the explosion would have been 80 kilometres up and at very high speed.

Witnesses would have believed it was closer.

"The tracks suggest if anything survived it would have been well out at sea."

On Auckland's North Shore David Burger of Long Bay told Stuff that he was texting in bed "when suddenly the whole sky lit up."

He saw sparks in the distance. His texting put the drama at 11.13pm.

Vik Olliver in West Auckland saw it race across the Southern Cross and Pointers.

"The object was overwhelmingly brilliant for about four seconds," he wrote.

"Everything in Laingholm and across the Manukau was lit as if by a welder's flash.

"It was several times brighter than daylight with a definite blue tint. My daughter saw it from her bedroom on the opposite side of the house through curtains and a bush canopy."

Graham Howard in Tauranga was watching the Black Caps when he saw it through open curtains.

"It looked like a large firework from here."

Blair Hill was sitting in his spa pool at Forrest Hill, on the North Shore, when the meteor raced over the sky tracking nor-north east.

"This would be one of the brightest I have seen if not the brightest. It must have been travelling at over 10,000km an hour, judging on the speed of planes that I see flying over the house here all the time.

One eyewitness said the meteor went over Waiuku, in south Auckland, heading north east.

It was "so bright that it lit up the lawn like daylight".

"Actually thought neighbours had put a spotlight on.

"About 20 seconds later heard big bang and rumbling noise for some time from distance in that direction."

Witnesses on WeatherWatch.co.nz described, at Hobsonville, the way the "sky lit up with a blue/green light, which faded into a point then seemed to break up to three separate pieces, orange in colour....."