Danny Wright and members of his family had just stepped out of the ocean when someone spotted a dark figure gliding in the water.
"We got out and my sister was looking out...and she goes: 'What's that?'
"There's a big dark shape and then a fin came out of the water and we're like: 'There's a shark'!''
Wright said the group - which included several children and teenagers - had been swimming at the exact spot the shark was in about 30 seconds earlier.
The incident happened about 1pm at the Coromandel's Ōtama Beach, on Wednesday, a day after the family had gathered together to welcome the start of 2019.
Wright, of Auckland, ran to grab his cell phone to get a snap of the shark - which he guessed was at least 2m long.
"It looks small in the footage...but it was a flippin' big shark and it was in waist-deep water when we looked out.
"Right in front of us, it turns around and comes towards us while we're standing on this rock and turns around and goes out towards the beach."
He said the shark was "very inquisitive'' and stayed in waist-deep water; seemingly enjoying the warm conditions.
"It just went up and down the beach for about an hour.
"It would swim up to check people out and people would get out of the water, swim around and swim away."
Wright's sister, Tracy Mahoney, raced down the beach telling people to get out of the water as she pointed towards the dark figure.
She told the Herald that on the same day, locals reported seeing orca and a stingray at the same beach.
"It was all happening that day,'' she said.
In December, 2017, a large shark was spotted in the same area - this time, at nearby Matarangi Beach - swimming the shallows.
Wright said on Wednesday, people quickly got out of the water when they spotted the shark.
A crowd gathered on the beach to watch it swimming the length of the beach.
"Everybody on the beach was talking [about it]. It was absolutely 8ft and the shape of it was really chunky."
Wright said despite the somewhat scare of being near a shark, it brought a lot of excitement for the children among the party - including his daughter Hollie, 15, and 9-year-old son Jackson.
"It was a huge thrill for my son, Jackson, as he is obsessed with sharks and often wears a shark tooth necklace he got from Fiji.
"I had just told them not to worry because there wouldn't be any sharks there,'' he laughed.