The breed of shark suspected to be responsible for the death of a woman at Waihī Beach has not yet been identified but Bay of Plenty marine experts suspect it was a great white.
Emergency services were called to Bowentown, near Waihī Beach just after 5pm Thursday after reports of a shark attack. A woman later died.
Professor Chris Battershill, the director of the Coastal Marine Field Centre in Tauranga, was shocked to hear about the "unusual" attack.
"We live in a very vibrant shark zone or region and it's because they come and have their pups here that they're not too interested in feeding, particularly inshore, which is why I'm confused on why this has happened.
"[Sharks] really don't tend to bother people, they swim away from them normally.
"One of our concerns is, it is a tragedy, but sometimes there is a temptation to hunt them and kill them which is not the right thing to do."
While there were many bronze whaler sharks around the Bay of Plenty area, he did not believe the sharks would become aggressive as they weren't often protective of their young.
Hammerheads were also in the region but Battershill found it hard to believe the breed could be responsible.
Great whites were spotted "off and on" in the coastal region of the Bay and surrounding islands.
When in the harbour on Thursday, Battershill noticed a fisherman had caught a black marlin.
"That's telling me that some of those warmer offshore oceanic currents have been coming in and with them, these large game fish come in. So the sharks are probably following those."
Bay Explorer owner Brandon Stone operates marine life cruises and finds it hard to believe a hammerhead or bronze whaler shark would be responsible for injuring the woman.
"We encounter [bronze whalers] all the time and I've done quite a lot of diving with them, intentionally getting in the water, and they're quite a curious animal. They will come in very close.
"There are a lot of incidences of them coming up to people who are spearfishing. They are becoming more and more people positive to the point where if they hear the ping of a spear gun they will come up and have a look as they are used to the sound."
Bronze whalers loved swimming in the surf zone, Stone said, and were often sighted leading to unnecessary "hysteria".
"It's not really warrantable and bronze whaler sharks are what we call non-predatory, non-invasive."
Stone said the chance of a hammerhead shark injuring a swimmer was almost nil due to their small mouth and bite.
As a result he believed the shark responsible was a white pointer, aka a great white.
Just over a year ago a 3.5m great white shark was spotted by people on a boat near Waihī Beach. A 2m-long shark washed up dead at the same beach in 2019.
Stone also knew of a fisherman who had caught a great white while surfcasting at Bowentown last summer.
"I think it is no coincidence a white pointer was caught in that exact location last summer."