Great White Shark Sightings

Over the summer months it is not unusual to come across juvenile Great white sharks hanging around harbours and shorelines. They feed on small fish but are inquisitive and will check out a burley trail or strugling fish on a fishing line. This is a great oppotunity for the avid photographer to snap a photo or two or grab the cellphone and capture the moment on video.

This project aims to build and share information on the distribution, habitat use and movements of great white sharks (white pointers, white sharks, mango taniwha, mango tuatini, ururoa) in New Zealand waters.

Each observation should ideally be a series of photographs of an individual shark accompanied by the date and location that the observation was made at.

Photographs are necessary to confirm the species identification and can be used for individual photo-identification. Every great white shark can be recognised from its colour pattern. The best images for this purpose are a series showing the markings on left and right sides of the body. Areas of the body most useful for individual identification are the side of the head, pelvic fins and lower lobe of the tail. Many individuals can also be identified from the pattern of notches in their first dorsal fin. Head-on shots while dramatic and useful for species identification are of little use for individual identification

There are several ways you can report sightings. The simplest is of course a phone call to either Clinton or Scott (contact details in the about us page) or you can email:

For the social media savy tag @tindaleresearch or send a note via messanger.

Other options include the inaturalist site ( you will need to log in)


Juvenile Great white shark from the Auckland Museum collection

Three main areas to photograph for individual ID

2.8m Great white shark. Video by scott Tindale, Kaipara Harbour

inaturalist website page

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