Relatives of a man who was attacked and killed by a shark
at Muriwai Beach yesterday hug while being supported at the
Muriwai Surf Club. Photo by The New Zealand Herald.
A policeman fired up to 12 shots at a killer shark in a
bid to retrieve the body of a swimmer savaged at Muriwai
Father-of-one Adam Strange (46) was attacked by the shark,
measuring at least 3m, just before 1.30pm.
Mr Strange, a television commercial director, was seen waving
for help before other beachgoers realised what was happening
in the water and called 111.
The New Zealand Herald has learned that police received
multiple calls, the first from a man on the rocks at the
south end of Muriwai Beach.
A police source said it was possible up to three sharks, most
likely great whites, had been feeding on fish and birds, and
Mr Strange swam right into the middle of them.
The police Eagle helicopter spotted the shark while it was
still attacking Mr Strange and stayed above until officers
got to the beach.
One was sent out on the water in an inflatable rescue boat
with three lifeguards.
It is understood that when the inflatable got to Mr Strange,
the shark still had him in its grip. He was already dead. The
officer used a M4 Bushmaster rifle to shoot at the shark to
get it to release the body.
The shark believed responsible for the fatal attack is
circled. Photo by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.
At least one bullet struck the shark, which rolled away
from Mr Strange and sank into the water. The source said the
shark was killed, but as of last night it had not been located.
Mr Strange's body was pulled into the inflatable and taken to
shore, where his wife, Meg, and other family were waiting.
Just before the attack, several hundred pupils of Glen Eden
Intermediate were swimming nearby.
"Just after we got out of the water, the Westpac helicopter
came over and then we saw the policeman get into the IRB,"
parent helper Tracy Howarth said last night.
Adam and Meg Strange married in 2011 and have a daughter,
Mrs Strange was not ready last night to speak about her
husband's death. But a family friend gave a brief statement
to the Herald.
"The family are grieving the loss of a glorious and great
father, husband and friend. We are in deep shock and are
still trying to contact family who are overseas," he said.
Mr Strange's wife was being comforted last night by friends
from the tight-knit Muriwai community, who converged on the
house after learning of the tragedy. Many took flowers as
expressions of their grief and their solidarity with the
On his website, Mr Strange said one of his short films,
Aphrodite's Farm, set on a dairy farm in the 1930s, had been
in 10 film festivals and last year won the Crystal Bear award
for Best Short Film at the Berlin Film Festival.
He was also a finalist in the global Cannes Lions
International Advertising Festival and the London
Mr Strange began making commercials in 1995 and was a
director for Silver Screen Productions, in Auckland, for more
than 10 years.
His work took him to Japan, China, Thailand, Malaysia, the
United States and Europe.
In his biography, he described his love of the outdoors and
spending time with his family.
"When I get a spare five minutes, I like to make a fruit
smoothy, surf some big waves out on the west coast, point my
skis down a mountain with Meg, haul my mountain bike up and
down a few hills, drink some Pinot while scratching away at a
The fatal attack was witnessed by a number of beach-goers.
Pio Mose was fishing with a group of men on the rocks when he
saw the "huge" shark attack Mr Strange just 50m away. "All of
a sudden there was blood everywhere."
Mr Mose said he saw Mr Strange struggle with the shark before
it swam away. He was keeping his head above the water before
the shark returned. "I yelled at him to swim to the rocks."
Mr Mose watched helplessly as the shark took Mr Strange's
body out to sea, and when lifeguards arrived, he directed
them to the group of sharks.
"It's awful - it's scary like a nightmare to me. All I was
thinking was I wanted to jump in the water and help but I
didn't want to get attacked by a shark too."
A resident who lives above Maori Bay saw the drama unfolding.
"Then I saw the IRB on the water and heard the explosions and
saw water flying up. They were shooting at the shark in an
effort to get it to release the body.
"There would have been up to 10 to a dozen shots fired - some
in very quick succession."
Beaches on Auckland's west coast are closed until further
- Anna Leask and Andrew Koubaridis/additional reporting:
Amelia Wade and Kieran Campbell