Waihī Beach has reopened to swimmers today following a fatal shark incident.
On Thursday, 19-year-old Kaelah Marlow died after she was reportedly injured by a shark while swimming at the Bowentown end of Waihī Beach.
The Otawhiwhi Marae Trust announced that the rāhui at the beach would be lifted for swimmers, walkers and other water activities today but fishing or gathering seafood in the rāhui zone was still prohibited until January 15.
The zone was within 200m of the Waihī Beach shore and in the Shelly Bay area.
The decision to open up the beach again to swimmers was made at a hui at Waihī Beach Surf Club yesterday involving local kaumātua, club officials, the Bay of Plenty Harbourmaster, Surf Lifesaving New Zealand, and representatives from Western Bay of Plenty District Council.
Māori warden and Otawhiwhi Marae Trust chairman Shaan Kingi said the rāhui was customary when there had been a water tragedy.
The rāhui stretched along the coast from the north end of Waihī Beach to the Bowentown Heads and included in the harbour to Ongare, Tuapiro and Tanners Point.
Kingi said the rāhui was put in place out of respect for the young woman's family and friends as the area where she was attacked and died was "very tapu".
He said the week-long rāhui was appropriate because there was a lot of blood on the beach and in the water.
He said emergency service responders had gathered together on Thursday night near the Coastguard building for a karakia led by kaumātua from the marae.
Surf lifesaving patrols had continued since the attack as Surf Lifesaving New Zealand needed to be there for those who would not obey the rāhui.
Swimmers were strongly advised to swim between the Surf Lifesaving patrol flags, with lifeguard flag points at Main Beach, Island View and Bowentown.
From 10am today there would also be a temporary fourth lifeguard patrol at Anzac Bay to help concerned visitors staying at Bowentown Beach Holiday Park.
Surf Lifesaving New Zealand's Eastern Region Lifesaving manager Chaz Gibbons-Campbell said signs would be erected to help beachgoers know where the rāhui was and he urged anyone with any concerns to talk to on-site lifeguards.
Extra lifeguards were brought in from Whiritoa, Puanui, Tairua, and Onemana yesterday to help relieve the lifeguards who responded to the attack, he said.
"We are also bringing in more support over the weekend and next week, including lifeguards from Mount Maunganui and Pukehina Beach assisting over the weekend."
Gibbons-Campbell said the lifeguards involved were on leave and were holding up "pretty well considering" what had happened, were receiving peer support and counselling.
He said the woman who died had not indicated to lifeguards on duty she was in any distress.
Lifeguards on a routine patrol outside of the flags spotted her in water about 100 metres from shore and went to her aid, he said.
Swimming between Surf LifeSaving patrol flags was advisable no matter what the sea conditions were, and never ever swim alone, he said.
The last deadly shark attack in the Bay of Plenty, according to the website Shark Attack Data, was in 1875.
Eastern Waikato area commander, Inspector Dean Anderson said in a statement that a post mortem was scheduled to be carried out yesterday.
While indications were that she had been injured by a shark, the Coroner will ultimately determine the cause of death, he said.
"Police extend our deepest sympathies to Kaelah's family and loved ones at this very difficult time," police said in a statement.
He said police acknowledged the young woman who died, her family and friends, the emergency service responders who went to her aid, including a holidaying GP, and local iwi from the Otawhiwhi Marae.
Victim Support services were being offered to anyone who required it.