A Kerikeri man who was attacked by a mako shark while spearfishing still managed to land the kingfish he had just shot.

Kevin Lloyd — a keen spearfisherman and diver — was out spearfishing near the Cavalli Islands in Northland with friends yesterday when he was attacked by a 7 ft mako shark about 11am.

The 24-year-old had just speared a kingfish when the shark "came out of nowhere" and latched on to his leg and then bit his hand.

"My mate couldn't see anything because there was blood everywhere.

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"I couldn't see what was going on I just knew there was a shark biting me. It managed to let go of my hands and then it swam off into the murk.

"I was stunned. I couldn't believe it was happening. We dive with sharks all the time but this shark we hadn't seen."

A man was attacked by a shark, believed to be a mako, at Matauri Bay. Photo / File
A man was attacked by a shark, believed to be a mako, at Matauri Bay. Photo / File

Lloyd and his friend swam back to the boat which was about 200m away and applied first aid. They then picked up another friend who they had dropped off in a different spot and headed to Matauri Bay to meet emergency services.

He was transported to Bay of Islands Hospital. He has 10 stitches in his hand but because of the nature of his leg wound and the high chance of infection it was decided to let it heal over time.

Despite the attack, Lloyd still managed to land the kingfish he had just shot.

"I'm pretty stoked about that. In the whole commotion, my gunline and the fish - the spear was through it - and that was wrapped around me. I started swimming back and it was still there so I grabbed it."

Lloyd goes spearfishing and diving quite often and said the incident hadn't made him more wary of going back into the water.

He wanted people to know this was the action of one shark, not all.

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"This is the first time I've genuinely been scared of a shark."

Police confirmed they had received reports of a man being bitten by a shark about 11.20am yesterday.

Northland Rescue Helicopter were initially called but were turned around.

The attack is the second shark attack in Northland in the space of two months.

In October Whangārei surfer Andrew Brough was attacked by a great white shark at Baylys Beach, near Dargaville. He was catching a wave when the shark attacked him and thrashed around with his surfboard and arm in its mouth.

Brough quickly paddled ashore and raced to Baylys for help. His 4mm-thick wetsuit's compression held his lower arm, torn to the bone, in one piece. Surgeons removed three shark teeth from the wound, and a larger tooth was embedded in the surfboard — 40 stitches were required.

Shark expert and Department of Conservation marine expert Clinton Duffy said after the previous attack that sharks are always out there but to put it in to perspective there had been 15 fatal attacks in New Zealand since records began in the 1850s.

He said earlier the great white is not as fast, furious and fearless as the mako or the tiger shark, neither of the latter usually found near New Zealand.