Author Kathryn Curzon

Kathryn has lived in the UK, Egypt, South Africa and New Zealand and is a trained scuba diving instructor and Great White shark safari guide. She is the author of No Damage (December 2014), the Managing Editor of The Scuba News New Zealand, a freelance writer, public speaker and co-founder of the marine conservation cause Friends for Sharks (August 2014). In 2015 she organised and completed a 10-month global speaking tour in aid of shark conservation: 87 events, 8 countries, 7000 people. Learn more about Kathryn’s book, No Damage at: http://www.kathrynhodgsonauthor.com/books/no-damage/

New Zealand is known for its wilderness areas on land but it is also home to 36 marine reserves and a spectacular array of dive sites. With accessible coastlines and hundreds of offshore islands, there are opportunities to dive wrecks, subtropical reefs, explore arches and dive within kelp forests, to name but a few. It is also possible to dive with rays and sharks, given that 26 species of ray and 113 species of shark have been recorded in New Zealand waters. There is something suitable for all dive preferences and abilities and here are our top picks of diving the North Island.

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Māui’s dolphin, a subspecies of Hector’s dolphin found off the west coast of the North Island, is the rarest marine dolphin and has approximately just 63 individuals remaining in the wild. This critically endangered dolphin needs all the help it can get to recover from fisheries bycatch.

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The phrase muck diving was coined by Bob Halstead when he described diving off black sand beaches in Papua New Guinea. This unusual type of diving has gained great popularity and involves diving sites with sandy or silty bottoms, in search of the critters found there. Some of the best sites for muck diving are volcanic areas and sea grass beds.

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The waters of New Zealand are home to a number of colourful moray eel species and conger eels, which can be dived with in places such as the Poor Knights marine reserve in Northland. Spending time with eels isn’t restricted to scuba diving though, as the land of the long white cloud is also home to the Longfin eel; a freshwater species only found in New Zealand and declining in numbers.

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It is with much relief we share the news that five sperm whales have been sighted by Whale Watch Kaikoura just six days after the 7.8 magnitude earthquakes that impacted Kaikoura and surrounds heavily. Whilst Whale Watch are currently closed for business, a short press release on their website shows their evident joy at the whales’ return to the area:

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