Waihi Beach shark attack victim named as Kaelah Marlow

The young woman killed in what's thought to be a shark attack at Waihi Beach has been named as Kaelah Marlow.

Marlow was 19 when she died on January 7 after being pulled from the water by emergency services.

Her death has been referred to the coroner but initial indications are that she was bitten by a shark.

"Police extend our deepest sympathies to Kaelah's family and loved ones at this very difficult time," said a spokesperson in a statement on Friday.

Kaelah Marlow.
Kaelah Marlow. Photo credit: Supplied

Emergency services were called to the scene at the popular Bay of Plenty holiday location just after 5pm on Thursday after reports of the attack.

Lifeguards at the beach were first to respond to the incident, providing help to the woman before other emergency services arrived, Surf Life Saving New Zealand eastern region lifesaving manager Chaz Gibbons-Campbell told Newshub.

He said "the mood is a bit sombre" at the beach.

"Our team that was on yesterday has been quite heavily affected by this," he said.