The History and Culture of Diving in New Zealand
When one thinks of diving, New Zealand is not the first country that comes to mind. But it turns out that this small country has a long and rich history when it comes to diving.
The first recorded instance of diving in New Zealand took place in 1837, when a British sailor named William Swainson dove from a ship in Wellington Harbour. Swainson was an accomplished diver and had previously written a book on the subject, so it is likely that he was the first person to dive in New Zealand waters.
However, it was not until the late 19th century that diving began to take off in New Zealand. In 1882, a group of four Englishmen founded the first diving club in the country, which was based in Auckland. This was followed by the formation of other clubs in Wellington and Christchurch.
Diving really began to boom in New Zealand in the early 20th century, thanks to the work of two men: William Beebe and Charles Fleury. Beebe was an American naturalist who came to New Zealand in 1903 to study the country’s unique wildlife. While here, he also became interested in diving and made several descents into the waters off the coast of Auckland.
Fleury was a French-born engineer who arrived in New Zealand in 1908. He was fascinated by the possibilities of using diving to explore the country’s hidden underwater world and began to build his own diving equipment. In 1910, he made the first successful dive in New Zealand waters using his own equipment.
Fleury’s dives attracted a lot of attention and he soon had a group of followers who were eager to try diving for themselves. This led to the formation of the New Zealand Underwater Exploration Club in 1911, which is still in existence today.
Diving continued to grow in popularity in New Zealand throughout the 20th century. Today, the country is home to a vibrant diving community with a rich culture and history. If you’re interested in diving in New Zealand, there are plenty of opportunities to explore the country’s underwater world.