Shark victim named
By Anna Leask AnnaLeask , Kieran Campbell KieranCampbell , Andrew Koubaridis A_Koubaridis
Wednesday Feb 27, 2013
The victim of a fatal shark attack in Muriwai this afternoon was an award-winning television and short film director.
Local father-of-one Adam Strange, 46, has been described by family as a "glorious" person.
In a statement release tonight, they said: "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 overseas family members, so discretion and privacy would be appreciated until the family are ready to make any further statements.''
Mr Strange's wife wife Meg was being comforted by friends and neighbours, many who bought flowers to their Muriwai home. The couple had a baby daughter.
In a biography 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 international film festivals in seven countries 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 International Awards.
Mr Strange began making television commercials in 1995 and went on to work as a director for Silver Screen Productions, in Auckland, for more than 10 years.
His work took him all around the world he says on the website, citing Japan, China, Thailand, Malaysia, the US and Europe as some of the places he has worked in.
In his biography he describes 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 film script."
A witness has described seeing a "huge" shark kill Mr Strange off Muriwai Beach on Auckland's west coast this afternoon.
Police have confirmed they shot and hit the shark, believed to be a great white, but said it swam away.
Pio Mose watched the attack unfold about 1.30pm while fishing with a group of men on the rocks between Maori Bay and Muriwai Beach.
He saw the "huge" shark attack a man alone swimming from the bay back to the beach about 50 metres from where he was standing.
"All of a sudden there was blood everywhere."
The man struggled 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. There was blood everywhere. The water was red. It's pretty scary."
He said after the second attack three or four other sharks came to the area.
Mr Mose and the other fisherman watched as the shark took the man's body out to sea and when lifeguards eventually arrived they directed them to where the group of sharks were.
The man's body was later retrieved.
"It's awful - it's scary like a nightmare to me. I was shaking, scared, panicked," said Mr Mose.
He said he had never seen sharks in the area in the three years he'd been fishing in that spot.
"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."
Mr Mose said those who went out to retrieve the man's body fired about six shots at the shark.
POLICE SHOT AT SHARK
A member of the public called police to report a man under attack by a shark at 1.24pm.
Police raced to the scene by road and the Eagle helicopter was also dispatched.
Eagle crew members spotted the shark while it was still near the man's body. A source told the Herald the Eagle stayed above the shark so police in the IRB could locate it.
Inspector Shawn Rutene confirmed police shot at the shark, measuring about 12-14 feet long, but could not say how many times.
The officer was out on the water in an IRB with three lifeguards - and Mr Rutene said one of them saw a second shark. It was unclear whether the second shark had been involved in the attack.
He said after being shot the shark "rolled away", but refused to say whether it was still attacking the man at the time.
Mr Rutene said the victim was a local man. His family were "devastated" and his wife was being supported by Victim Support and police at the scene.
VICTIM WELL KNOWN TO MURIWAI LIFEGUARDS
Muriwai Volunteer Lifeguard Service chairman Tim Jago fought back tears as he spoke about the fatal incident.
He said the dead man was well known to Muriwai lifeguards - including those who tried desperately to save his life.
Mr Jago would not go into the specific details about what the lifeguards on the IRB with police saw, but he said it was "traumatising".
The lifeguards were young, and were being offered support and counselling.
He said it was unusual for sharks to be at Muriwai, especially one this size.
"This is something completely shocking," he said.
All beaches on Auckland's west coast had been closed until further notice. The shark responsible for the attack had not been located.
"They've got every 'beach closed' sign they can get their hands on," said Mr Jago
Police believe the shark was likely to be a great white.
Dr Malcolm Francis, a NIWA Principal Scientist who studies sharks, told One News that based on the reports it is likely the attack was by a great white shark.
He said there are few other species that grow to 12-foot long - believed to be the length of the Muriwai shark.
He said great whites are known in the area and it is likely the shark mistook the person swimming as a seal.
Muriwai Beach is closed to the public until further notice.