Award-winning director Adam Strange has died in a shark attack off the coast of New Zealand.

The 46 year old was swimming off Muriwai beach on the west coast of North Island on Wednesday (27Feb13) when the creature, believed to be a great white, struck.

Local reports suggest several more sharks joined the attack, while police and lifeguards headed to the site of the incident in boats.

They shot at the group of sharks, and Strange's body was later recovered.

Strange was the winner of a Best Short Film prize at 2009's Berlin International Film Festival in Germany for his project Aphrodite’s Farm, and he also directed international commercials for companies including Pepsi and Firestone.

He is survived by his wife and young daughter.

A statement released by his relatives reads, "The family are grieving the loss of a glorious and great father, husband and friend."