A large mako shark cruising around an estuary in Mangawhai on Tuesday has been captured on camera by a local "privileged" to have seen it in the wild.
Andy Bruce, video creator and digital media producer at Elevated Media NZ, was scrolling through Facebook at his Mangawhai home when he spotted a post about a 2.5m short-finned mako in the estuary near Mangawhai Heads Beach around 9.30am.
"I thought I'd like to have a look at that," he said.
He grabbed his camera and drone and drove to nearby Picnic Bay, where Bruce said he easily spotted the shark thanks to its large size and the clear water.
A paddleboarder had been alerted to the mako's presence by another local and a few people, who had the same idea as Bruce, stood and marvelled at the shark.
Bruce watched for around 30 minutes as the mako cruised the current looking for a snack in the clear Mangawhai waters.
"It was very calm and very fascinating to watch," he said. "I've dived with some sharks in Australia but I've never seen one in the wild like that."
Bruce said seeing the mako in the popular swim spot would not deter him from getting back into the water.
"I'm of the opinion that it's their environment, they've been here longer than us and we should respect that."
Department of Conservation marine scientist Clinton Duffy said mako are abundant in New Zealand and are found all around the country's waters.
Duffy said while it was "a bit unusual" to see mako (Isurus oxyrinchus) in shallow water - as they were most common offshore from about 30m depth - it was not unheard of.
Mako sharks are the fastest sharks in the ocean, with the ability to hit speeds beyond 80km/h in short bursts. They are able to maintain speeds of 30km/h for longer periods.
They are not a protected species in New Zealand but there is a fishing quota for their catch - the current maximum daily limit for mako in New Zealand is one per fisher.
It is an offence under the Animal Welfare Act to fin a shark and return it to the sea alive.