A 14-year-old girl's quick-thinking enabled her to escape serious injury after a shark lunged at her in waist-deep water at Oreti Beach, near Invercargill, last night.
Fiona Ward said her daughter Lydia was body boarding about 6.30pm when the shark attacked, wrapping its jaws around her hip.
The teenager reacted by furiously whacking the shark on the head with her body board until it let her go, Mrs Ward told the Southland Times.
Lydia thought she had stood on the shark, tried to move away and stood on it again, she said.
"It just came right out of the water and bit her."
Her brother, who was swimming next to her, estimated the shark was about 1.5m long.
Lydia was treated for her wounds at home but was later taken to Southland Hospital to get the deeper of two wounds examined, Mrs Ward said.