A man has been killed in a shark attack on Auckland’s west coast.
He was Muruwai filmaker Adam Strange, who was in his 40s.
Police said he was swimming alone from Maori Bay to Muriwai Beach several hundred metres offshore when he was attacked by a four-metre shark, believed to be a great white.
Inspector Shawn Rutene told Fairfax NZ that his wife and family were distraught.
It took police and lifeguards, who knew Mr Strange, around 30 minutes to recover his body, while two sharks remained circling the scene.
A police officer fired at the two sharks.
“We don’t know whether he hit it, but it rolled off and disappeared.”
Mr Strange’s family said in a statement:
‘‘The family are grieving the loss of a glorious and great father, husband and friend.’’
Strange also had a background in painting, photography and graphic design.
While the species of shark was not confirmed, the Department of Conservation said great whites had been seen in the area at the weekend.
As a precaution beaches north of Makukau Harbour, including Piha and Muriwai, will be closed for the next few days, and helicopters will patrol the area.
Fisherman Pio Mose saw Mr Strange swimming.
“All of a sudden… we saw the shark fin and next minute, boom, attack him then blood every where on the water,” he told Stuff.
“He was still alive, he put his, head up, we called him to swim over the rock to where we were.
“He raised his hand up, and then while he was rising his hand up we saw another attack pull him in the water.
“He came back up, his head was on the water… then we notice he was already dead.”
According to DOC shark expert Clinton Duffy there had been 14 fatal shark attacks in New Zealand since 1837.
“In the last 20 years we have been averaging two shark incidents, where the shark actually bites someone, a year.”
“Those are generally on swimmers and generally result in fairly superficial flesh wounds,” Duffy said.
The last death was in the Coromandel in 2009.