That first breath underwater

Mahurangi Island off Hahei

Taking that first breath underwater is a moment never to forget, say a keen group of students who have just passed certification.

At the beginning of last year Te Aroha College offered Smart Days, run every Thursday in Term 2 and 3.

The school offers lots of courses such as flying, mountain biking, hunting, digital studies and many more activities.

One of the options was scuba diving.

“I had been interested in doing diving a long time as my dad is a diver.

The theory side of it was a lot harder and took a lot more time than most of us thought,” says Kurtis Large.

“There were five sections and each one took about four hours to complete.

But practical was absolutely amazing.

Starting in the pool and taking that first breath underwater is a moment I will never forget.

”The group then ventured out for their first shore dive at Opito Bay on the east coast near Whitianga and then finally a boat dive.

“We passed and became PADI Open Water divers.

”Then this year the advanced open water was offered for people who passed open water course and offering the open water course for new people.

The advanced course had no way near as much theory and a lot more practical, say the students.

“Darrell Bird, Emily McKeague, TK Parson, Paige Thomson and the team at Divezone Whitianga are absolute legends and amazing instructors.

They are all super helpful and really patient with us, learning things in and out of the water.

Teacher in-charge Hanna Sharps has been awesome from day one.

She’s been driving us up to Whitianga and back every week when we have diving and has been a huge mentor and support to all of us,” says Hayley Robinson.

“This course is an amazing opportunity, it gave my friends and I a chance to get out of the classroom and try something new.

Instead of sitting in a classroom and reading a book we are breathing underwater and trying new things.

Doing this at our age is a great opportunity because diving can lead into other jobs and careers, it is an international ticket and it is wicked fun.


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