An Orewa local who says she witnessed an attack on the great white shark that died on the beach on Thursday says its alleged killers wanted to eat it.
The woman, who wants to only be identified as Casey, is one of multiple people claiming to have seen a group of men repeatedly kick the 2.7m long female shark.
The fishermen allegedly caught the shark in a net, then brought it onto the beach and prevented people from rescuing it as well as beating it.
"100 percent they were like, 'we're taking this home to feed everyone'," Casey told Newshub.
She went on to describe intimidating behaviour of one of the fishermen.
"A lady started trying to get water, asking for help and he basically said, 'you do it, you do it', trying to intimidate her, and then was jokingly asking for a knife."
Lifeguards say they didn't witness any malicious behaviour, but did also claim the fishermen wated to take the protected shark home as food.
"Once we realised it was a great white we said 'no, you can't take it' and waited for police and DOC to come down and sort it out," Hayden Bartlett, a lifeguard at Orewa beach told Newshub.
With only around 5000 great whites left in the waters east of Australia, it is illegal to deliberately catch one.
"They are a protected species, so the message needs to be reiterated that they are a protected species so there is to be no taking [of them]. It must be released live if it can be, so not taking it up on the beach to get selfies, it's supposed to be immediate," Scott Tinsdale, a shark research associate told Newshub.
The deceased great white from Orewa will now be used for scientific research.
Its official cause of its death is still under investigation, but many on the beach have already made their minds up.