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Loved ones salute New Zealand dad killed by shark

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 01:56 a.m. HST, Feb 28, 2013

WELLINGTON, New Zealand » About 150 friends and family of Adam Strange wrote messages to him in the sand and stepped into the water Thursday (Wednesday in Hawaii) at a New Zealand beach to say goodbye after he was killed Wednesday by a large shark.

Strange, 46, was an award-winning television and short film director and the father of a 2-year-old girl. He was swimming near popular Muriwai Beach Wednesday when he was attacked by the shark that was possibly 14 feet long.

Police attempting to save him raced out in inflatable boats and fired gunshots at the enormous predator, which they say rolled away and disappeared. They couldn't confirm if they'd killed it. Police were able to recover Strange's body.

Muriwai and several nearby beaches remained closed for swimming after the fatal attack, one of only about a dozen in New Zealand in the past 180 years.

Friend Adam Stevens said the Thursday service was run by indigenous Maori who removed the "tapu" or spiritual restriction at the beach. He said it was a "perfect tribute" to a man who spent much of his time swimming and surfing.

"He was a very robust, big, barrel-chested surfer," Stevens said. "He was basically completely obsessed with the ocean, with paddle boards and body surfing, everything. His garage was like a museum of surf craft."

According to Police Inspector Shawn Rutene, Strange was about 200 meters (650 feet) from the shore when he was attacked by a shark that police estimated was up to four meters (14 feet) long.

Stevens said his friend was planning to swim about one mile Wednesday as he tested out some new goggles and trained for an annual endurance swim from Auckland to Rangitoto Island. The 2.8 mile swim takes place on Sunday.

"I surfed with him the day before," Stevens said. "He wasn't that pleased with his fitness level but was just getting into the right headspace and finding the motivation to get out there."

Pio Mose, who was fishing at the beach Wednesday, told the New Zealand Herald newspaper he saw Strange struggle against the huge shark. Mose yelled at Strange to swim to the rocks, but it was too late.

"All of a sudden there was blood everywhere," Mose said. "I was shaking, scared, panicked."

About 200 people had been enjoying the beach during the Southern Hemisphere summer at the time of the attack.

Stevens said he's been comforting Strange's wife Meg and their daughter since the accident. He said the girl is too young to understand what has happened but is aware of the emotions.

On his website, Strange says: "When I get a spare 5 minutes, I like to make a fruit smoothy, surf some big waves out on the West Coast, point my skis down a mountain with Meg, haul my mountain bike up and down a few hills, drink some pinot while scratching away at a film script ... If I get a spare 5 minutes ..."

Stevens said his friend, whom he's known about 15 years, was very creative and always positive.

"He lived in the moment brilliantly. It was completely infectious," Stevens said. "He feasted on the details."

Strange won a Crystal Bear award for best short film at the 2009 Berlin Film Festival.

Police did not say what species of shark was involved in the attack. Clinton Duffy, a shark expert with the Department of Conservation, said New Zealand is a hotspot for great white sharks, and other potentially lethal species also inhabit the waters.

Attacks are rare. Duffy estimated that only 12 to 14 people have been killed by sharks in New Zealand since record keeping began in the 1830s.

"There are much lower levels of shark attacks here than in Australia," he said. "It's possibly a function of how many people are in the water" in New Zealand's cooler climate.

He said that during the Southern Hemisphere summer, sharks often come in closer to shore to feed and to give birth, although that doesn't necessarily equate to a greater risk of attack.

"Ninety-nine percent of the time they ignore people," he said. "Sometimes, people get bitten."

Around the world, sharks attacked humans 80 times last year, and seven people were killed, according to the University of Florida's International Shark Attack File. The death toll was lower than it was in 2011 but higher than the average of 4.4 from 2001 to 2010.

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patk wrote:
Stop shooting the sharks. They are not coming onto land and attacking us. We are in their homes. If stuff happens, then so be it, what else can we expect.

And on a tangential note, all you stup*d chinese (and others) stop finning sharks and tossing them back into the ocean to die, just for your stup*d shark fin soup. Plus all the other animals you're killing because your wankers don't work and other silly reasons.
on February 27,2013 | 08:15AM
patk wrote:
Oh wait a minute, I forgot that they have to protect the tourism trade -- meaning money. So die sharks die, because they can't afford to lose tourism dollars.
on February 27,2013 | 08:21AM
aomohoa wrote:
I agree with you completely! No one should ever consume shark fin soup. So cruel! At least kill and eat the shark, don't leave it to suffer and die slowly. Humans are cruel. Sharks are just hungry. Don't swim 650 ft out into the ocean.
on February 27,2013 | 08:36AM
RetiredWorking wrote:
LOL for telling people not to swim 650ft from shore, aomoha. I guess you're not an ocean person at all. FWIW, 650 ft is only 217 yards. At Diamond Head lookout, the surf break looks to be 1/4 mile out, at least. That's 1,320ft. And if you're spearing fish, 650ft isn't that far out. aomoha, stay on the beach. That way, the sharks will never bite you.
on February 27,2013 | 09:44AM
aomohoa wrote:
We aren't talking about spear fishing. I can swim at the Ala Moana Beach Park and be 30 feet from shore. I feel bad for this guy but when I am out that far I am in a Kayak or on a paddle board. You don't know me so don't say I'm no an ocean person. And by the way I am a scuba diver! I have drove with sharks all around me. You're rude!
on February 27,2013 | 03:33PM
readergirl wrote:
agree with you too!!!! plus stop chopping off the rhino's horn for their "magical" powers. I couldn't believe it when I saw the pic in the paper of the Asian girl (I don't remember if she was Chinese or Vietnamese) but she had the powder and was going to make "tea" for its' "magical" powers.........geeze get real.....what magic did it do to her ..... just because they have tons of money to spend ...(the demand) the stupid poachers go out and kill these animals.......when are trying to do is survive...Humans are the worse....
on February 27,2013 | 02:00PM
dontbelieveinmyths wrote:
Hmmm. Believe in magic? Almost like praying huh? Only with praying you don't have to kill anything.
on February 27,2013 | 05:29PM
aomohoa wrote:
I would never swim that far off shore. What a lousy way to go. I hope he was in shock right away and died as quickly as possible.
on February 27,2013 | 08:33AM
tiki886 wrote:
These people have never scuba dived or went spear fishing. I usually carry a .44 magnum bang stick.

You notice how these Liberal pukes value animal life over human life? Screww dem.

on February 27,2013 | 09:50AM
editors wrote:
Hey Tiki--you don't have to be a liberal to respect life. The guy was already dead when the police shot at the shark. Or did you not actually read the story?
on February 27,2013 | 10:27AM
Fred01 wrote:
The lives of animals are far more valuable than the lives of Teaparty wingnuts!
on February 27,2013 | 12:25PM
hawaiikone wrote:
Classy comment.
on February 27,2013 | 03:42PM
aomohoa wrote:
You idiots who always bring up the tea party in every article are starting to look really ridiculous.
on February 27,2013 | 05:08PM
JnS wrote:
If you want to use your comment as your way of thinking, please note that if we kill the top of the food chain, the ocean ecosystem would be so impacted that long term effects would cause much more human deaths compared to a few attacks. Sharks Die -> Populations of certain sea creatures explode -> reefs & coral die -> reef fish die -> deep sea fish die -> millions of people die
on February 27,2013 | 12:27PM
JnS wrote:
Sharks Die -> Certain sea creatures populations explode -> reefs and coral die -> reef fish die -> deep sea fish die -> millions of people die. Your logic is flawed as by caring about sharks you care about saving millions of lives.
on February 27,2013 | 12:35PM
aomohoa wrote:
And your point? Everything dies, we get it. It's too bad humans cause so much unnecessary death.
on February 27,2013 | 05:38PM
aomohoa wrote:
Yes I scuba dive. No I don't spear fish.
on February 27,2013 | 03:34PM
aomohoa wrote:
By the way, it doesn't mean you are a liberal just because to care about animals. I'm as conservative as they get. I value all live. Your comment is just plane stupid.
on February 27,2013 | 05:36PM
sailfish1 wrote:
People kill sharks, sharks kill people. At least sharks don't bite off a person's arms or legs and then leave and let the person sink and die miserably. People kill for stupid selfish reasons, sharks kill for food and survival.
on February 27,2013 | 10:56AM
st1d wrote:
actually, that's exactly how sharks feed. they bite and then let the victim weaken to sink or die miserably before finishing off their meal.
on February 27,2013 | 02:16PM
JnS wrote:
Sorry about the double comment...there was a delay after the first post..I assumed wrong that it was deleted.
on February 27,2013 | 12:39PM
NuuanuMama wrote:
We are over fishing the oceans and depleting the sharks food. Farmed fish are fed wild fish at a ratio of 1:5. Doesn't make sense.
on February 27,2013 | 01:02PM
aomohoa wrote:
Don't forget the fishing companies killing everything in it's path with no regard for the future. Humans are the only ones that kill out of greed..
on February 27,2013 | 05:41PM
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