Swimmers at popular Papamoa Beach were told to get out of the water after two sharks were sighted this afternoon.

Shortly before 2.30pm, people were called in as lifeguards were seen rushing out on boats.

A Herald reporter on the ground said: "They were waving their inflatable[s], blowing the whistle and announced it over the loudspeaker.

Lifeguards search the area for two bronze whaler sharks sighted at Papamoa Beach today. Photo / NZ Herald
Lifeguards search the area for two bronze whaler sharks sighted at Papamoa Beach today. Photo / NZ Herald

"A lifeguard said there were two bronze whalers a bit further down the beach.

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"There was a school of fish where everyone was swimming and the sharks were heading that way, so they got everyone out.''

There is a large crowd - including many children - at the beach, given the sunny conditions.

People stood at the edge of the water looking out, in the hopes of catching a glimpse of the sharks.

Swimmers were allowed back into the water shortly afterwards.