Dive Zone - Tauranga


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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.  



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.  



Winter Escape - Diving Thailand

Posted by Dania

Recently one of our staff headed to Koh Phi Phi, 
Thailand to soak up the local culture and escape
to the warmth and sunshine.


Koh Phi Phi is a national marine park, and the scuba diving is amazing with 28-31 degree water - it’s like diving in a bath, no wetsuit required. Surrounded by rugged pinnacles, secluded bays, aquamarine water and sublime beaches, Koh Phi Phi is a natural beauty.  It's a popular dive destination due to its picturesque reefs, healthy coral gardens and the abundance of marine life.  The effects of the 2004 tsunami are barely noticeable with the islands and ocean recovering remarkably well.


Dive sites are a rainbow of colours, teeming with marine life.  The highlight was definitely diving from a traditional long tail boat, as well as close encounters with hawksbill turtles, sea snakes, small reef sharks and finding Nemo … well maybe not the one and only Nemo, but it was definitely a clown fish.  If you're not a diver, it's still a great place for snorkelling because the water is so crystal clear.

When not under the water there's plenty to do and explore.  The lookout is stunning, as long as you're keen to walk up what felt like hundreds of stairs in 30 degree heat!  

While at the lookout, we got talking to a local who said many monkeys use to inhabit the island, but now you only see them stealing food from tourists on Monkey Beach.  As we sat and chatted to the old man, his two dear friends Tutu and Tata made an appearance - monkeys!!  
They visit the old man when the tourists have gone, & are a great reminder that nature is around you all the time you just need to stop for a moment to see it.

Thailand has definitely made an impression, and is such a fantastic place, offering lots of destinations for diving, surrounded by exotic marine life.  I’m sure this will be the first trip of many.  



Graduate Profile ... Jess

Posted by Nicki

We caught up with one of our 2016 tertiary graduates, Jess Van Roest,
who has just returned from Vanuatu where she was working as an Instructor.

Jess, what was your childhood career goal / what did you want to be?

Since my first intermediate school camp to Kelly Tarltons, I always wanted to be a Marine Biologist.  Although Marine Biology is connected to diving, I hadn’t really thought about scuba diving until I got to do a Marine Studies paper in Year 12 of high school, which included doing my Open Water certification with Dive Zone, Tauranga!  I think it’s fair to say I was hooked.

Why did you decide to look for employment overseas?

I wasn’t specifically planning to look for work overseas, although plenty of people had told me how easy it was to find work abroad because of the high demand for Instructors.  I was fresh out of Uni and wanted to do something different, so I decided to look on the PADI site to see what was out there.  I wasn’t dead set on the idea of leaving New Zealand just yet, but when I came across the job as an Instructor in Port Vila, Vanuatu,  I thought “there’s no harm in applying”.  They ended up getting back to me in a few days and I moved over two weeks later.

What you're planning next?

I’ll be jumping the ditch and moving to Australia next, and from there who knows.

What is your favourite memory as an Instructor?

I think for every Instructor, watching people’s reaction when they take their first breath underwater, even at 1m in a pool is pretty special!  But working in a place where cruise ship traffic was high, taking people for discover scuba dives and seeing their faces as soon as you get back to the surface with them, and knowing they’re hooked.

What words of advice would you give to someone who is considering diving &/or further training to become a PADI Professional?

No dive will ever be the same.  If you want an office that you will look forward to diving into every day, or just something completely different, then become an Instructor.  Get your Instructors or your Dive Masters and just go for it, travel!  Best thing I’ve ever done.



How Do I Trial, Train or Refresh?

Posted by Nicki


Here we are, heading into the middle of the year after a super busy month of training with our recreational dive courses & local school groups.

Highlights for the past month included a great bunch of students from Katikati College, Tauranga Girls, Tauranga Boys & Mount College, completing training for PADI Open Water Diver & Advanced Open Water courses. 

Our “Weekend-Warrior” recreational students also cashed in on the settled weather to complete their training, without the need to sacrifice their weekday commitments.  These weekend courses run all year round with the convenience of self-study in your own time, made easy with the latest interactive, multimedia materials from PADI to suit any style of learning.  This is followed by 3 full days of practical training, to ensure proficiency with all of the required skills. 

Completion of the PADI Open Water Diver course provides a worldwide recognised certification, & is followed by the PADI Advanced Open Water course, which further hones your dive skills through completion of 5 adventure dives including Deep Diver & Underwater Navigation.

Training is available for a variety of scenarios:

"I’ve never dived before, & I’m not sure if it’s going to be my ‘thing’..."

No worries … contact us to arrange a Try-Dive so you can give it a go under the supervision of a PADI Instructor in the comfort of our onsite, heated dive pool.  The session takes about 1-1½ hours, & bookings can be made simply by contacting us.

"It’s been a while since my last dive, & I’m a bit rusty..."

Refresher sessions can be arranged as-&-when required by giving us a call.  We encourage you to bring your own gear (if you have it) to re-familiarise yourself with it while refreshing your skills.  Allow 1-1½ hours for the session which is held in our onsite dive pool.  If you want to brush up on your theoretical knowledge as well, check out the online PADI ReActivate programme.

"I’m ready to take the plunge!  How do I sign up for a dive course to get my PADI?"

Simply check out the available course dates, then purchase your online theory access key.  If you get stuck, give us a call on 07-578 4050, or email us