Pauanui’s beach has been closed to swimmers after multiple sharks were spotted in the water there.
Beaches in the Coromandel and the Bay of Plenty have been on high alert since Thursday, after a teenaged girl was killed in an apparent shark attack at Bowentown, south of Waihi Beach.
George Reid, a volunteer lifeguard at the Pauanui Surf Lifesaving Club said there had been “continuous shark sightings” in the waters off the beach since about 1pm, and as a precaution the beach was closed to swimmers at 1.15pm.
“We are not able to confirm the size or the species,” says George.
It follows a similar closure to swimmers on Saturday afternoon.
The spate of sightings follow the death of Kaelah Marlow, who died after being attacked by a shark at Bowentown.
Pauanui Beach is about 74 kilometres north of Waihī Beach.
The 19-year-old from Hamilton was rescued from the water by surf lifesavers, but died on the shore.
A rāhui is still in place at the beach, which prohibits people from fishing or gathering seafood of any kind, and will be in place until January 15.
This extends from the North end of Waihī Beach to the Bowentown Heads and in the harbour to Ongare, Tuapiro and Tanner PT, a social media post by Otawhihi Marae Trust said.
Swimmers in the area were asked to swim between the flags in patrol locations, which are at the main North Waihī Beach, Island View and Bowentown, with an additional patrol location set up at Anzac Bay.
A social media post by the trust explained a rāhui is in place because they consider blood loss sacred or Tapu.
“For respect for the immediate family and those involved we have placed the Rahui to be able to cleanse the sea.”
The chance of being attacked by a shark is “very very slim,” Niwa shark expert Warrick Lyon said previously, but he advises swimmers to be cautious still.
Smaller sharks were “everywhere” around the New Zealand coast and some larger species could come in close to the shore, he said.