About Dive Zone Whitianga

Darrell Bird came over the Coromandel Range back in 2004 and discovered this stunning coastal town with its outstanding dive sites - and no specialist dive store.  And so it began. Darrell opened his store in October of that year.  Darrell's vision and constant drive is always ensuring that he provides quality brands of equipment and operates a safe and fun based adventure tourism business. 

We are fortunate to have passionate crew of Dive Instructors at Dive Zone Whitianga - all of which have been through our own training programmes and have continued to update and further their training and skills.  Scroll down and meet our Crew! Or send us a message in the box below.

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
Email: darrell@divethecoromandel.co.nz

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 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 Dive Instructor. This will become your home away from home before you know it.

Send Us A Message!

Got a question?  Want to find out how to book a trip?  Need some dive advice?  Send us a message below and we will get right back to you.

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Linda Bird

Linda has lived in Whitianga for over 20 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!

Credentials: PADI Advanced Open Water Diver

Mobile:  027-482 7273
Email:  linda@divethecoromandel.co.nz

Caitlin Bird

Caitlin learnt to swim in the birthing pool at Waikato Hospital in May 2008. She loves the water and would swim all day.  Caitlin 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.  She has gone on to do her Adventure Diver rating.  She looks forward to being old enough to further her dive training.

Credentials:  PADI Junior Adventure Diver

Craig Rasmussen

'Captain' Craig is our right hand man, skipper of our Dive Vessel's - Scuba Doo & The Mystery Machine, our Service Tech and still teaches Dive & Freedive courses.

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

Mobile:  027-532 3602
Email:  craig@divethecoromandel.co.nz

Elise Norman

Elise is one of our team teaching our Tertiary programmes as well as our PADI Recreational Dive Courses and EMP Medic First Aid courses.  Her ever enthusiastic nature and her passion for the sea will be sure to inspire anyone.

Credentials: PADI Master Instructor, PADI EFR Instructor, EMP Medic First Aid Instructor

Ryan Hansen

Ryan has a great love for anything water. As well as teaching our Tertiary and Recreational dive courses and sometimes Skipper of our boats, Ryan has completed the first ever PADI Free Diving Instructor training course and is keen to grow Freediver training here at Dive Zone.  

Credentials:  PADI Master Instructor, PADI Free Dive Instructor, PADI EFR Instructor, EMP Medic First Aid Instructor, Instructor of Master of a Small Commercial Dive Vessel, SRL Skipper Restricted Limits.

Jarrod Harkin

Jarrod came to study with us from a family background in the marine industry and completed his Diploma in Professional Scuba Instruction with us in 2018.  Cutting his teeth working as one of our summer Instructors, Jarrod proved his worth and stayed on with us to work teaching our Diploma students alongside our Senior Instructors and teaching recreational dive programs. He is a dedicated and enthusiastic Dive Instructor and just the person you need to get you going in the water.

Credentials: PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer, PADI EFR Instructor, EMP Medic First Aid 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 Experiencing Marine Reserves – teaching school kids about the values of Marine Reserves.

Credentials: PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer, PADI EFR Instructor

Alyce Reneti

Alyce is the superstar that keeps our massive retail shop running smoothly. She joined the team in 2015 and comes to us with an extensive background in customer service and loves immersing herself in our dive retail store. Alyce has a wealth of product knowledge and can help recommend the perfect equipment to meet any special request. She's born and bred right here in the Coromandel and is passionate about the environment and our Marine life. 

Credentials: PADI Open Water Diver 

What we do and where we do it

Scuba diving in New Zealand is among some of the best in the world and we reckon the Coromandel Peninsula has some of the best diving available in New Zealand.  We are a PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Centre and have achieved OutdoorsMark Adventure Activity Certification. We offer a comprehensive range of recreational and professional scuba dive programmes.

Dive Zone Whitianga offers a full range of scuba dive services including:

*NZQA Tertiary Training Course - Become a qualified PADI dive instructor with our one year Diploma In Professional Scuba Instruction course with enrolements in February and August of each year.  We also offer part time PADI Dive Master training.  Our programs meet the criteria for the Government's new Fees Free Policy and eligible students can benefit from the new Government policy
*PADI Recreational Dive Training from learn to dive PADI Open Water, PADI Advanced and PADI Rescue training offered all year round.
*Air Fills and Dive Tank Testing
*Full range dive retail store selling top quality scuba dive gear - wetsuits, BCD's, Regs and much more
*Full range of scuba dive hire equipment from wetsuits to dive computers
*Dive Boat charters
*First Aid Training

Whitianga is on the eastern seaboard of the beautiful Coromandel Peninsula and is only 2 - 21/2 hours drive from either Auckland, Hamilton or Tauranga.  Whitianga sits within Mercury Bay and is a favorite holiday destination for many New Zealanders and International Visitors.  One visit and you'll see why.

The natural beauty is outstanding, with a rich and sub tropical back drop of hills and native bush covered cliffs and valleys, opening out to warm white sandy beaches and coves, islands and rocky outcrops and the blue Pacific Ocean for miles.

There are many beautiful locations in the world to scuba dive but only a few can be regarded as truly magic.  Whitianga is set in the Mercury Bay, renowned for its stunning coastline, offshore islands, white sandy beaches and crystal waters is one of New Zealand's best scuba dive locations really one of those truly magic locations.

With dive sites suitable for divers ranging from those on their first sea dive, to the very experienced, the Mercury Bay is the ideal playground for all.  The photographers enjoy many sites offering a wide range of photo opportunities from macro to wide angle shooting.  If photography is not your thing you can put on a pair of gloves and try your luck at catching a crayfish and collect our renowned delicacy -  scallops - during season. 

Above the water the islands consist of spectacular cliffs climbing vertically from the sea. These islands are the remnants of an ancient volcano chain which makes for many interesting dive sites that very in depth and bottom topography.  In some cases the cliffs continue straight down under the water’s surface.  Along some of these walls are brilliant anemones, hydroids, nudibranches, soft colourful sponges and spiny sea urchins.

The main chain of the Mercury Islands consists of the large Great Mercury Island to the west, Red Mercury Island to the east, and five much smaller islands between the two.  Only the main island is inhabited – the others form part of a nature reserve.

Most scuba dive sites consist of boulders big and small, cracks and crevasses, small swim throughs and caves.  Kelp and seaweeds of many colours cover the sea floor.  Below the kelp other interesting animals such as crayfish, packhorse crayfish, Spanish lobsters, scorpion fish, tiny blennies, plus many species of crab, sea shells and still more nudibranchs can be found.   If you look hard enough you may even find a sea horse.  Many schools of trevally and blue maomao can be seen on the surface and below the water too.  In the summer months large kingfish school on weed edges and pins along with giant boar fish, john dory and tarakihi.  A great array of other animals inhabit our waters from moray eels, stingrays, wrasse, demoiselles, porcupine fish, snapper and many other vibrant species.   Further down below them pink maomao, golden snapper, porae, blue moki and other fish appear in reasonable numbers.  Orca can also be seen swimming in pods of between four and eight chasing the abundant population of stingrays.  Their smaller cousins, the dolphins are the most common marine mammals seen and are frequent visitors to divers in this area.  And on occasion, especially during the winter months, New Zealand fur seals reside on some of our islands and are keen players in the water.

The magic of the Mercury Bay is such that even on a bad day, when the weather is a bit average the boat ride is sloppy, you know that there will always be somewhere a bit sheltered from the weather and the diving will be spectacular.


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