Watch: Man hooks great white in Kaipara Harbour on 21st birthday trip

Photo credit: Jason Bragg/Newshub

An Aucklander got more than he expected from a fishing trip for his 21st birthday - a close encounter with a great white shark.

Andre Vousden was testing out his new rod in the Kaipara Harbour on Boxing Day hoping to bring back a fresh catch for dinner. Instead he hooked the shark, with the breathtaking footage caught on his uncle's GoPro camera.

The video shows the three-metre shark breaching and flying through the air just metres in front of a recreational fishing boat.

"I don't think you can get a better 21st present," Vousden told Newshub.

"We were trying to catch a feed and all of a sudden my bait runner is peeling out line and all of a sudden this massive great white comes out of the water and we just couldn't believe it."

He didn't even know his uncle Jason Bragg had turned the GoPro on in time until afterwards.

Bragg was shocked and said a few "choice words" were dropped. He was "sort of shaken a bit" wondering if the GoPro was working properly.

The pair released the pictures to Newshub because they wanted to make sure other fishermen didn't go after the shark.

"Great whites are endangered species. This is their nursery and we're in their habitat," Vousden told Newshub.

"I just please urge people not to come up here."

That message was backed up by marine researcher Scott Tindale.

"They seem to be more scared of us, so if you see an event like this or a shark swimming by you're one of the lucky ones," he said.

"It's their environment, it's their waters, we're only visitors."