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New Face(s) of Dive Zone

Posted by Nicki

WOW - what a month!

The opening of scallop season on 1st September coincided with unusually persistent rainfall, but those of you who braved the elements have reported that these tasty treats are fat & plentiful which is great news.

On a personal note, it’s been a month of preparation for some changes to the crew, so you’ll be seeing some fresh faces both in & out of the shop.  The end of September sees us saying farewell to Dania who is taking a much deserved break from the industry to pursue other interests.  I wish her every success in her future endeavours, even though she will be sorely missed here. 

It’s also time for me to say goodbye after 8 years at the helm, which has been a chapter of my life that’s presented more highlights & challenges than I ever anticipated.   That being said, it is my absolute pleasure to introduce the new owners Tony & Liz Plank, who are super excited to take the reins:

“Liz and I are really excited to be the new owners of Dive Zone Tauranga.  We are both keen divers who did our Open Water courses while on our OE 15 odd years ago – mind you, my Portsmouth in November (10 degrees 5m vis) was a bit different to Liz’s Dahab, Red Sea experience!  Since then we have experienced some cool dives on our travels and enjoy hunting and gathering locally.  We have two young girls who we are looking forward to introducing to diving once they are old enough.  We take over at the start of October, & Nicki is going to stay on for the first two weeks to show me the ropes, so why not pop in to say goodbye to her and introduce yourself to me … we’d love to see you!”

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for your valued custom & loyalty, & I know that I’m leaving you in very capable hands with Tony, Liz & the rest of the Dive Zone Tauranga team.  



Diving with Family

Posted by Kelly

Spring is trying it's best to usher in warmer weather. School students are nearing the end of year exam countdown.

Many families will be looking forward to summer holidays. How about going diving together this summer?

There are some families who dive together but there are a surprising number of divers whose diving activities don't include other family members.

Undoubtedly part of it is that quite a few kiwi blokes want to hang out with their mates or don't have the patience to wait for their less experienced family members to "catch up".

To those guys I say -wait up! Do whatever it takes to get your kids to dive with you- there's nothing as special as diving with family. Turning around underwater and seeing one or two of your children following is an incredible feeling.


My father taught me to dive. I always thought I was the lucky one because he took me along but as a parent now I realise how awesome it must have been for him!

I have taught both of my girls to dive. They're not as keen to dive as I was. Their dad owns a dive shop so I think that they see it as something they can do anytime. We surf a lot together and always enjoy the dives we do together. They are my favorite dive buddies!!

Take advantage of the warm summer conditions coming up and get your kids certified - you wont regret it!! If you dive but your parents don't then tell them to try. I know several people who learnt to dive in their 60's so they could dive with their children. The oldest person I saw learn to dive was 70 and she's still diving at 82!!

Get out there and dive as a family this summer! If your not diving then surfing, fishing, camping - hopefully something outside. Whatever it is do it together.






Shore Diving

Posted by Nicki

The Bay of Plenty offers a number of offshore islands and reefs, but the reality is that not everyone has access to a boat to take advantage of these dive sites. 

Shore diving is a convenient & fun alternative, but still requires some careful planning.

1.  Select the Site

Your first priority is to check weather and tide forecasts.  The best time to dive is an hour either side of high slack tide, which will provide an extra bit of depth, while avoiding the risk of strong outgoing tides.

Take time to consider what the weather was like over the few days prior, as rain, wind & swell can have considerable impact on visibility. 

Keep a watchful eye out for possible hazards around the site (e.g. boat traffic / people fishing off nearby rocks etc) before you enter the water, & always display a regulation sized (600mm x 600mm) dive flag … a semi-rigid flag is best as it will be clearly visible at all times.

Check entry & exit points for ease of access.

2.  Gearing Up & Entry

Avoid gearing up too far away from the entry point to reduce the risk of overheating & fatigue. 

After performing your pre-dive safety check with your buddy, enter the water as soon as possible, don your fins, then take a few minutes to rest & relax on the surface before you start the dive. 

It’s a good idea to have a non-diving shore support person ready to assist in an emergency.

3.  Take a Transit Bearing

Line up a couple of obvious landmarks before descending, to pinpoint your position along the shoreline.  A distinctive tree close to shore and a powerline further away are an ideal example.  

Effective underwater navigation will help avoid a lengthy surface swim at the conclusion of the dive, when you’ll need to locate your exit point by lining up your pre-selected landmarks again.

4.  Plan the Dive

Plan the dive with your buddy, & stick to it.  Ensure you know who is leading, & agree on actions for unforeseen events such as buddy separation.

There are several shore dive sites that we utilise on a regular basis:  Pilot Bay, Leisure Island, Lake Rotoma & Rabbit Island.  If you’re not so keen on the surface swim to Rabbit Island (400m off Mount Maunganui beach), our hire kayaks are purpose designed for kayak diving, & provide a really fun alternative.  



Get Your Gear Ready!

Posted by Paige Thomson

Spring is nearing…..

And it is that time of year to get in nice and early and arrange for your yearly servicing of any equipment. If left until summer time it’s likely to experience delays due to increased demand in the service department. So get into it now!

Your BCD’s & regulators are equipped with numerous parts that will deteriorate over a period of time, regardless of whether they've been used or not.  So, keeping them in good working condition is a huge important part about your safety when diving.


Your BCD and regulators should be serviced and safety checked annually and when necessary. These inspections go a long way towards ensuring your gear is safe and well-functioning equipment.  

Safety checks and servicing are carried out onsite at Dive Zone Whitianga by our trained service technicians, using manufacturer approved methods and service parts. These safety check procedures are for us to check functionality and to check for any abnormal wear or leaks that may lead to failure during a dive, this may mean your equipment is unsafe for use. Remembering this is your life support system under the sea which needs to be serviced by a trained technician to maintain proper and safe functioning so come on in and see us at Dive Zone Whitianga.


New Zealand regulations state that scuba cylinders must be hydrostatically tested every 2 years, & visually inspected every other year.  Failure to do so will mean that your local dive shop won't be able to fill them.  If your cylinder is due for inspection, come on in & we'll sort it out for you. Once the cylinder has passed the test, your cylinder will be all ready to go with a complimentary air fill included.  Worksafe NZ have confirmed the condemning of all aluminium tanks made from metal 6351.  Our team are able to identify for you if your tank falls into this category – just bring it in for us to have a look at.



Blake is back!

Posted by Kahlia

Blake Dodson – Our very experienced Service Technician


Blake is a very funny and knowledgeable bloke who started in the dive industry WAY BACK in 1985!


Born in Wellington, he completed high school in Auckland and did  various jobs such as driving trucks, making wetsuits , building and more…

He has worked in Chicago for Dacor, holds his PADI Dive master, is a hardworking service technician, and was responsible for training shop technicians in NZ, Australia and Pacific Islands.

As well as all of the above he has also worked as a warehouse manager, production manager for wetsuits and now he has come back landed at Dive Zone Bay of Islands as an all-round handy man.

Everyone at Dive Zone just adores working alongside Blake, after all he does have a "unique" personality. He is a great addition to our shop and awesome with customers.


Blake enjoys snowboarding, mountain biking, driving his boat, fishing and spending quality time with his wife and daughter. He also just got his skippers license! Woohoo!!!