Great white shark sightings on the coast and harbour in the Far North have prompted talk of erecting warning signs.

Sharks described as big and "rather hungry," had been seen more than once, by people who know what great whites looked like, in the harbour at Houhora and nearby coastline.

Houhora Harbour Warden Greg Gemmell posted a warning on the Houhora Big Game and Sports Fishing Club Facebook page on Sunday.

Notice From Houhora Harbour Master. it has been bought to my attention from several locals that over recent times of...

Posted by Houhora Big Game & Sports Fishing Club on Sunday, 6 May 2018

"There have been half a dozen sightings over the last month," Gemmell said.

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"Sightings have been inside Houhora Harbour as well as Henderson Bay and Rarawa Beach, so those are the areas people need to be wary of."

The post has attracted hundreds of comments.

"There been a big white cruising Houhora and around Spirits Bay for couple months now it could be more than one. The one we saw at Spirits Bay was massive and there was one seen at Houhora the same day," someone commented.

Department of Conservation shark scientist Clinton Duffy said he doesn't believe there are more sharks in the area than usual.

"My understanding is that the confirmed sightings have been juveniles, certainly the photos I've seen are and at that size they're almost exclusively fish eaters," Duffy said.

However, he isn't opposed to the idea of warning signage.

"I don't think that signage is necessarily a bad idea in areas where they're being seen regularly," he said

"Once they get to 2.8-3 metres long they start feeding on larger prey, so that's when they would begin to pose a potential threat to humans," Duffy said.

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Duffy said he had heard sightings of a very large great white up in Henderson Bay but couldn't confirm it.

Houhora resident Dan Nicholson took footage of a great white circling his boat in March, earlier this year.

"It came up after my burley and circled the boat for a while. It was quite comfortable hanging out in 2 metres of water and was around 3 metres long, maybe bigger," Nicholson said.

"I thought I'd better share it as that's where lots of locals dive for kina," he said.

Nicholson said the shark was fairly docile as it swam around the boat;
Nicholson said the shark was fairly docile as it swam around the boat; "it was just after the burley", he said.

He said he and other locals had been hearing all summer about sightings of both juvenile and older great whites in the harbour.

"There was a rumour that went round that there were three of them, it's just one of those things where people are always talking about it but people rarely get any footage, so I just thought I'd get my camera out and take some footage for everyone to post it up and show them."

"There was another one caught in a mullet net in Karikari Peninsula late last year that was floating about dead."

A juvenile great white that died after being caught in a mullet net was floating in Karikari peninsula in March. Photo/Dan Nicholson
A juvenile great white that died after being caught in a mullet net was floating in Karikari peninsula in March. Photo/Dan Nicholson

Northland Regional Council (NRC) Harbourmaster Jim Lyle said the council wasn't planning on erecting any official signage.

However, he understood that some concerned locals had put up handwritten signs in areas where sharks had been spotted.

While shark warning signs are commonplace in parts of Australia and overseas, The Northern Advocate was unable to find any examples of shark warning signs erected in New Zealand.

However, in 2006, the NZ Herald reported that the Pukehina Regional Lifeguard Patrol was keen to find sponsorship to buy shark warning signs after a number of bronze whaler sightings.