New Zealand’s last fatal shark attack was in 2013 when several sharks attacked the filmmaker Adam Hunter Strance and killed him while swimming while training for a race. In 2009, a great white shark bit a kayaker in Whangamata, which is just north of Waihi Beach at the Coromandel of Peninsula.
About 5.10 pm on Thursday a woman who is believed to be in her early 20s was attacked by a shark at the Waihi Beach, in western Bay of Plenty. Emergency services were called at the time. The reports said that the woman was pulled out from the water alive and police said that initial indications showed she may have been fatally injured by the shard and died a short time later, despite attempts to save her.
Prayers and blessings offered
Karakia and blessings have been made at the site itself where the woman was dead even after attempting to save her life. The victim had severe bite wounds, in one of her legs. Police said the death will be referred to the coroner. A media reporter at the scene said that the car park at the Bowen town end of Waihi Beach as well as the people arriving at the beach were asked to go back where the place was sealed off about 6 pm.
Two fire engines, St John Ambulance and police were at the scene. All the emergency personnel had gathered in front of the Waihi Beach Coastguard at about 6.30 om. The friends of the woman who died left the building about 6.35 pm. The ‘Kaumatua’ appeared to be speaking afterwards where the karakia and blessings also have been made.
A founding member of New Zealand’s Great White Shark Project,said news of the attack was “absolutely terrible”. Scollay said, “It’s very unusual, at this time of the year where thousands of people are swimming off that area in general, you shouldn’t have to worry about sharks. Usually there are a lot of sharks around the shallows, but they are almost exclusively sharks that are not likely to hurt people.” she also said, “It’s a very rare thing. There’s plenty of sharks in the ocean which are not hunting for people. It is very unlikely to happen. Its just so tragic and my thoughts are with the woman’s family.”