Dive! Tutukaka celebrates 20 years on the waters

New Zealand's largest dive charter operator, Dive! Tutukaka is celebrating 20 years of taking visitors into the Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve.

New Zealand's largest dive charter operator, Dive! Tutukaka has celebrated 20 years of taking visitors into the world-renowned dive destination of Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve.

The Poor Knights Islands, a group of small islands just off New Zealand’s north-eastern coast near Whangarei, offer some of the best sub-tropical diving in the world. Operating in this precious environment, Dive! Tutukaka has racked up multiple national and international awards for its professional and leisure marine experiences. 

Based on the pretty Tutukaka coast - three hours by road north of Auckland - Dive! Tutukaka was recently named as a finalist in the inaugural Qualmark 100% Pure New Zealand Experience Awards which recognises excellence in sustainable visitor experiences.

Since launching in 1999, the company has taken over 200,000 people to the marine sanctuary and certified over 5000 new divers in its PADI dive centre. 

The business, which employs 60-plus staff over the summer high season, has a strong focus on sustainability and the marine environment, and has been a leading force innovating and changing the face of the New Zealand dive industry.

Owner Jeroen Jongejans says the full Marine Reserve status of the Poor Knights Islands is the foundation of the business and with that comes a belief in making a difference to the environment in which it exists.

“Our challenge has been to match this world class destination with world class service, and, I think we have managed that rather well over the last two decades,” Jongejans said.

The business takes to heart four New Zealand values: whanaungatanga, kaitiakitanga, manaakitanga and kotahitanga. These Māori concepts mean shared experiences and connections, guardianship, hospitality and warm welcome, and collaboration.

Dive! Tutukaka’s base, in the small coastal village of Tutukaka, is the gateway to the Poor Knights. It includes a swish new visitor centre, recently opened by New Zealand’s Minister of Tourism, Hon. Kelvin Davis, a 4.5-star boutique lodge (Lodge9), a function and training centre (Shed7).  

The fleet includes six vessels with an electric boat currently being trialled. The tour offering includes the Perfect Day - a popular boat tour dedicated to snorkelers.

The Poor Knights Islands also recently celebrated its 20th year as a full marine reserve, restricted fishing was allowed from 1981 until becoming a total no-take zone in 1998.

About the Poor Knights Islands

The Poor Knights Islands, a group of small islands just off the coast of Whangarei, offer some of the best sub-tropical diving in the world.

Set 23 kilometres off the golden sands of the Tutukaka Coast, the Poor Knights are an international diving icon, described by Jacques Cousteau as the best dive spot in subtropical temperate waters.

Uninhabited since the 1820s, the islands are a marine reserve. Crystal clear waters offer divers the chance to view a variety of unusual and unique wildlife and experience the beauty of this untouched, underwater world. Dive! Tutukaka offers dive lessons and tours all year round where all equipment is provided. 

Travel Tips

If you're heading to Tutukaka, it's a 3-hour scenic drive north from Auckland. Tutukaka, the service port for the Poor Knights, is 30km northeast of Whangarei. New Zealand’s largest fleet of dive charter boats operate out of Tutukaka to the 50 dive sites around the islands.

Dive! Tutukaka is at 3-5 Rona Place, Tutukaka 0173.