DOC issues warning after shark attacks man at Papamoa Beach

The Department of Conservation (DOC) has issued a warning after a man was attacked by a shark in Papamoa Beach.

The 61-year-old went for a body surf at the beach around 8pm on Wednesday when he felt something snap onto his arm.

"It gave me a fright, thankfully didn't latch on, and by the time I came to the surface it was gone," he told Stuff NZ.

"I looked down at my arm and saw the little puncture marks. And that's when it sort of hit me 'Ok, I have been bitten' - and in my shock I just slowly made my way back to shore."

The man's injuries were minor, but DOC is urging people travelling to beaches for the long weekend to be vigilant.

"There are always sharks around our coastline and at times they may come close to the shore," DOC marine technical advisor Clinton Duffy said in a statement.

He says there have been several sightings of Great White sharks in Tauranga recently.

"It is not unusual for them to be there, however, when we're visiting the ocean, we need to be a little bit vigilant and aware of what's happening around us."

"Swim where there are surf life-saving patrols, and don't swim or dive alone."

DOC advises those who are heading out in Tauranga Harbour over the long weekend to exercise caution and avoid swimming in the main channels.

Please report details of sightings, captures or strandings to DOC or to 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468).