The "Taranaki Terror" may have moved on to a new hunting ground with a great white shark being reported by two brothers off the Kapiti coast on Saturday.
Craig Simpson, 36, and his brother Daryl were fishing in 15 metre-deep water in Pukerua Bay about 300 metres from the Kapiti shore when they said a shark bigger than their 12-foot dinghy came up with a cod on their line about 5pm.
The size and behaviour of the shark is similar to descriptions of the Taranaki Terror - also known as "Mrs White".
Department of Conservation ranger Bryan Williams said it was possible the shark was the same one.
"There were two sightings of a white off the Pohukura platform, so it's possible its moved on."
Mr Williams said it would be no problem for a great white to swim that far down the coast, but it was anyone's guess whether it would come back to Taranaki waters.
The Taranaki Terror was first seen in 2004 when it lunged at a small runabout off Waitara, leaving teeth marks in the hull.
Since then it has frequently returned during summer, although it was not seen at all last year.
On Saturday, Craig Simpson said the shark he and his brother saw rolled on its side and looked at them with its beady black eye.
''If I reached out I could have touched him if I wanted to, but there was no way I was going to do that.
''I was really worried at first the way it was looking at us.''
Simpson said they had seen many sharks in their 15 years of fishing, but never a great white.
They were using a small rod and reel to try and catch snapper or blue cod for a Christmas meal. Barracuda had been stealing their fish all day, so they got a shock when their competition got bigger.
''I don't scare very often or easily, but this is one time I was actually panicking.''
He was concerned it would tip the small boat over, so was thankful his 3-year-old son, who was with them earlier, was back on shore.
While it was "quite scary", the shark was beautiful, he said.
They saw a panicking diver come up sounding his emergency alarm a bit earlier, and they now believe he may have seen the shark too.
Simpson said he was due to go for a dive today, but was no longer very keen to go.
On average, there are two shark attacks every year in New Zealand. Since 1837, there have been 15 fatal attacks. The last death was in 2006, when a kayaker was mauled by a great white in the Coromandel - whether he drowned before the shark found him is still disputed. Before that was 1976.
- Taranaki Daily News
Should New Plymouth council sell off assets from the Perpetual Investment Fund to pay off debt?Related story: Perpetual Investment Fund asset sell-off 'should be debated'
Get Taranaki's frequent news and sport updates
Get your mid week news fix
Get your South Taranaki news online