Open 7 days, Sunday to Thursday 8am-5pm, Friday & Saturday 8am-6pm

PADI Course Director, PADI EFR Instructor Trainer, EMP Medic First Aid Instructor Trainer, Skills Active Workplace Assessor, ERMA Cylinder Testing Signatory, Local Launch Operator.

Ph: 07-867 1580
Mobile: 027-433 9433

Darrell Bird - Facility Owner/Operator

Darrell learnt to dive in the Red Sea in Egypt. He worked at dive facilities in both Australia and NZ before opening Dive Zone Whitianga in October 2004 and HE'S LOVING IT!!! You'll find Darrell in shorts and jandals all year round. Always the action man, Darrell loves not only diving, but any kind of adventure in the outdoors. His enthusiasm for diving is unmatched - and its hard not to feel inspired by his stories and pure passion for what he does.  Darrell has dived widely around the world, including with infamous WWI wrecks of Scapa Flow - Orkney Island, WWII wrecks of Truk Lagoon, Galapagos Islands, Rainbow Reef Fiji, Wrecks of Croatia, Phillipines, Malaysia, Great Barrier Reef Australia, Niue, Tonga and Vanuatu as well as all over NZ.   

Darrell and his wife Linda take in each and every student as part of their Dive Zone family, caring and guiding them through the course and their journey to becoming a PADI Dive Instructor. This will become your home away from home before you know it.

Linda Bird

Linda has lived in Whitianga for over 28 years and since teaming up with Dive Zone owner Darrell, and becoming a mum to their daughter Caitlin, Linda discovered she also enjoys playing in the diving world - particularly the warm tropical dive trips she organises!  Linda has dived across the Pacific (Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga, Niue), Philippines, Raja Ampat Indonesia as well as braving the cooler temps of Fiordland.  Linda is always willing to share info on these locations.

You will find Linda managing our retail/admin world where she organises our marketing, web site and all the other tasks that hubby Darrell throws at her.

Credentials: PADI Advanced Open Water Diver, Nitrox

Mobile:  027-482 7273

Caitlin Bird

Caitlin loves the water and would swim all day.  She completed her Junior Open Water as soon as she turned 10 - of course.  Her favourite dives to date are those she completed on the Rainbow Reef in Fiji where she spotted Octopus and Turtles and Niue where she loved watching the sea snakes.  Caitlin has gone on to do her Adventure Diver rating.  

Credentials:  PADI Junior Adventure Diver

Craig Rasmussen

'Captain' Craig started as our first Dive Instructor student back in 2004 and has been with us ever since.  Craig is our right hand man, skipper of our Dive Vessels - Scuba Doo, The Mystery Machine, Under Pressure, & Scrappy, our Service Tech and is one of our Senior Instructors teaching Dive & Freedive courses and running our Marine Academy programme.

Craig loves exploring whenever he can and has been to dive the sharks in the South Island and South Australia, enjoyed the Philippines and Tonga.  Ever the shark seeker and always keen to share stories.

Credentials: PADI Master Instructor, PADI Freediver Instructor, PADI EFR Instructor, EMP Medic First Aid Instructor, Inshore Launch Master, Instructor of Master Small Dive Boat, ERMA Cylinder Testing Signatory.  

Mobile:  027-532 3602

Ryan Hansen

Ryan has a great love for anything water.  Completing his Diploma with us back in 2014, Ryan has been a keen team member ever since. As well as teaching our Tertiary and Recreational dive courses and one of our Skippers of our boats, Ryan has completed the first ever PADI Freediving Instructor training course and is keen to grow Freediver training here at Dive Zone. Ryan has a passion for his photography and loves to share his images on our social media sites.

Credentials:  PADI Course Director, PADI Freediver Instructor Trainer, PADI EFR Instructor Trainer, EMP Medic First Aid Instructor, Instructor of Master of a Small Commercial Dive Boat, SRL Skipper Restricted Limits, PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty Instructor

Amber Boyd

Amber is born and bred in the Coromandel and joined us in December 2004 after completing her Diploma of Marine Studies at Tauranga Polytech. She has worked with us ever since, still finding time to make babies to bolster the junior division of the Dive Zone PADI Seal Team.  Amber works part time and helps with our Marine Academy programme and recreational dive training.  When not working at Dive Zone Amber also is the local Coromandel Co-ordinator of Experiencing Marine Reserves – teaching school kids about the values of Marine Reserves.

Credentials: PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer, PADI EFR Instructor

Celvin Curtis

Celvin hales from Wales and decided on a change in career later in life.  He brings a wealth of life experience to the table and after completing his Diploma In Professional Scuba Instruction in 2022, he is now passing on his knowledge and experience by teaching the 2024 Diploma class. Celvin is also a volunteer firefighter, so you can always count on him to keep you safe. His wicked sense of humor never fails to make us laugh which adds so much to our team. 

Credentials: PADI IDC Staff Instructor. Master of a Small Commercial Dive Boat.  PADI EFR Instructor

Tony Kemp

Tony had a variety of life experiences before undertaking his Diploma In Professional Scuba Instruction with us in 2022.  Ever keen to lend a hand, Tony has been teaching recreational courses, assisting in our service area and has since taken on the Diploma class of 2024 too. To top it off, as a keen freediver, he added Freedive Instructor to his skill set. With so much under his belt, he makes such a valuable member of our team.

Credentials:  PADI IDC Staff Instructor, PADI Freediver Instructor, Master of a Small Commercial Dive Boat, PADI EFR Instructor

Max Ross

Max has been playing in, on and around the waters of Mercury Bay since he was 12 years old. He has recently turned a lifelong interest in the ocean into a career. Formerly a computer programmer and then a high school teacher, Max is now doing work that involves adventures on the ocean. Max got his scuba certification the day he turned 15 (a long time ago now!). He has dived Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu, Hawaii, Bluff and Minerva Reef.

Credentials: Skipper Restricted Limits, Open Water Scuba Instructor, PADI EFR Instructor

Ailsa Laurie

With a great passion for the ocean and a diploma in environmental studies, Ailsa decided what better way to combine the two than completing her Diploma in Professional Scuba Instruction. You will always see Ailsa with a smile on her face whether instructing or in our busy retail department. She brings a contagious positive energy with her wherever she goes and with her easygoing nature and friendly personality, she is sure make you feel at ease and help you wherever she can. 

Credentials: PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer, PADI EFR Instructor, PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty Instructor, Freediver

Ryder Van Vlerken

Ryder comes from the Kapiti coast with an impressive background in freediving and spearfishing. So any related questions, he's your go to guy! He started bubble blowing through the local schools Marine Academy program when he moved to the Coromandel in 2022. He decided that he loved the ocean too much to not make it into a career and now works as a full time instructor. As one of our freediving instructors, Ryder is keen to grow the sport and show people why the ocean is so epic. 

Credentials: PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer, PADI EFR Instructor, PADI Freediver Instructor, Master Freediver, Master of Small Commercial Dive Boat

Alysha Read

Alysha started blowing bubbles in 2018 and has been addicted ever since! As another graduate of the Diploma course, she works with our regular school groups during the week and is our retail wizard on the weekends. Any spare time is spent on the gymnastics floor and has quickly become our go-to backflip specialist! She has added to her arsenal of skills by completing her Freedive Instructor course at the end of 2023 and is always there to help people get the most out of whichever course they choose. Whether you're learning to blow bubbles, hold your breath or checking out our retail store, Alysha can help!

Credentials: PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer, PADI EFR Instructor, PADI Freediver Instructor, Master Freediver, Master of Small Commercial Dive Boat


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