A father filming his daughter swimming at a popular beach has captured just how close his daughter was to a shark cruising past her.

The startling footage filmed by the man shows the shark only feet away from the young girl who is playing unawares in the shallows.

The pair were taking a summer swim at Papamoa Beach in the Bay of Plenty when the unidentified species darts past.

The video shows the young girl, wearing a snorkel mask and a rash vest, ducking under waves as surfers glide past further down the beach.

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She asks her father to film her under water and waves to him.

Moments later a shark's fin can be seen racing past.

The close encounter sets of a flurry of splashing from the man filming the video, who appears to be making a hasty retreat to the shore with his daughter.

Although it's not clear in the video, the man's daughter commented on YouTube that her father was "hit by the shark".

The NZ National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research says the sharks that people are most likely to spot in local waters over summer are the Bronze whaler, Blue shark, School shark and the Spotted dogfish.

-Daily Mail