Woman bitten by shark in Southland estuary, police urge vigilance

File photo of a sevengill shark.
File photo of a sevengill shark. Photo credit: Getty Images

A woman in Southland has been bitten by a shark in a popular estuary, receiving a "significant laceration" to her leg.

A police spokesperson said a 21-year-old woman was walking in knee-deep water in the estuary, near the Riverton rugby grounds, at about 2am on Monday. 

She received a significant laceration to her leg that required treatment from emergency services, according to the spokesperson.

Police believe the sevengill shark, which are present in the estuary, could potentially be the culprit. The time of day is a possible factor. 

Riverton is a popular holiday destination, and police are urging anyone heading into the water to follow safety guidelines and avoid late-night swims. 

Water Safety NZ has resources and advice for all water-going holidaymakers.