Success Stories and Testimonials

We are very proud of all our graduates. Here is a sample of what some of them have gone on to achieve and what they thought about our courses.

  • DiveGraduate 0000 Lauren

    Lauren Bowden


    Master Scuba Diver Trainer
    Places Worked: Pro Dive Cairns, Queensland - Australia


    "I am having a blast teaching people to dive and enjoying putting the skills I learnt at Dive Otago to use."

    "I am currently working for Pro Dive Cairns as a 5 day instructor. I spend two days based in cairns where I teach the theory open water sessions and the confined water pool sessions. Along with instructor duties on the boat, I also help out with deckhand duties such as mooring the boat and driving the rescue tender - so I have learnt a lot of new skills as well. The diving is fantastic and I seem to find something new each time I go for a dive. I will often see turtles, grey reef sharks, whitetip reef sharks, barracuda, moray eels, stingrays and Nemo of course. Some of the other instructors have been lucky enough to see manta rays. It is just start of whale season and our skipper has spotted Humpbacks! They also tell me Minke whales come in very close to the reef as well. Pro Dive is a great company to work for - they teach courses all year round so the work is consistent. They have a very strong reputation and maintain a high standard of safety. Overall I am having a blast teaching people to dive and I am really enjoying putting the skills I learnt at Dive Otago to use."


  • DiveGraduate 0011 ChrisZinsli

    Chris Zinsli


    IDC Staff Instructor
    Places Worked: Dive Otago, Dunedin


    "The underwater world is such a diverse place and it’s fantastic to be in such an unexplored environment which doubles as my office - every day is a brand new adventure."

    "I was hooked right from my first Open Water Dive when on a working holiday in Oman in the Middle East. I was treated to crystal clear, warm water and the marine life was stunning - there was not even a chance of looking back. After a dozen more dives in Oman, and a handful in Samoa, I enrolled into the February Diploma of Professional Scuba Instruction at Dive Otago and have been working and living the dream at Dive Otago ever since graduating.

    In 2013 I was lucky enough to dive with around 60 Bull Sharks in Fiji, an awesome adventure that tops my list of the most epic things I have ever done in my life. With the certification to not only have experiences like this, but to teach others to be able to have them for themselves is an awesome feeling. What we do changes lives!

    "Our local marine life here in Dunedin amazes me with its sheer abundance. Even after doing over 400 dives in Otago I still stumble across new species of animals I have never seen before. The underwater world is such a diverse place and it’s fantastic to be in such an unexplored environment which doubles as my office - every day is a brand new adventure."


  • DiveGraduate 0006 Clive

    Clive Cox


    Master Scuba Diver Trainer
    Worked: Australia and Malaysia


    "Two years ago I drove past Dive Otago and it was only by chance that I went in to see what this instructing thing is all about. One year later I graduated with a Diploma, made some lifelong friends and had fallen in love with the underwater world!

    Today I am sitting on a beach on a tropical island in Malaysia, doing something I love and marvelling at the places this job has taken me. From Mexico, to Australia, Malaysia and Indonesia....and I'm only just beginning. None of this would have happened if I didn't get the expert training and education from Dive Otago."


  • DiveGraduate 0005 Dimitry

    Dimitry Sharomov


    Master Scuba Diver Trainer
    Places Worked: Worldwide as an underwater photographer on the Pangaea Project


    "Every year we make amazing expeditions to the different corners of our planet."

    "Since leaving New Zealand on the sailing boat Pangaea, I started working as a photographer for Pangaea Project with Mike Horn. Every year we make amazing expeditions to different corners of the planet. Not long ago I came back from an expedition to the Gobi desert. Now we are preparing the next expedition to Kamchatka - land of volcanoes, geysers, hot springs and brown bears! I am going there next Monday for one month! My life is very exciting :-)

    We did many dives during our ocean adventures. The most spectacular dives we did was on the Andaman Islands (Indian Ocean) and Marians Islands on the way to Japan. Many thanks to the Dive Otago team for teaching me how to dive!"


  • DiveGraduate 0007 Anthea

    Anthea Ibell


    Master Scuba Diver Trainer
    Places Worked : All over the world and Dive Otago, Dunedin


    "This is beyond a dream experience. After finishing my study I received a scholarship for one year of dive travel and research all over the globe"

    "I am currently on an experienced based underwater scholarship called the Rolex Our-World Underwater Australasian Scholarship ( The scholarship emphasises breadth of experience, aiming to give me the broadest range of opportunities possible. I aim to undertake a multitude of projects within the marine biology and underwater archaeology fields. Prior to the scholarship, I completed my PADI Open Water Instructor Diploma at Dive Otago in 2008. Since then, I instructed part time while studying towards a Bachelor of Science in Zoology with a Minor in Archaeology at the University of Otago."


  • Bridget-Gaskell

    Bridget Gaskell


    PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor
    Worked:Goat Island Dive - New Zealand


    "Getting paid for doing what I love is a dream come true. "

    "I've had the most amazing summer straight out of my Diploma course, working with customers from all over the world and seeing their enthusiasm towards the underwater life at Goat Island Marine Reserve. Getting paid for doing what I love is a dream come true."


  • DiveGraduate 0009 Shannon
    Shannon Jopson


    Master Scuba Diver Trainer
    Worked: Nautilus Watersports, Port Vila - Vanuatu


    "The diving here is awesome and at some sites we get up to 40m visibility!"

    "Hey guys, just a few words to give you an update of what I’m doing here in sunny Port Vila, Vanuatu. I arrived at Nautilus Watersports just over a month ago and had a couple of weeks to learn how the place runs before I was straight into running courses and taking Discover Scuba Diving sessions. The diving here is awesome and at some sites we get up to 40m visibility! There are heaps of wrecks to dive, lots of different reefs and a giant cavern to explore. There is also a heap of different nudibranch. I’ve been diving with lionfish, sea snakes, cuttlefish and my personal favourite, the dugong! The turtles seem to evade me despite being seen by everyone but me. I’d recommend any of you newly qualified dive instructors looking to gain some experience and get your MSDT to apply for a 3-4 month job here. It’s a great way to get some certifications under your belt and dive Port Vila."


  • DiveGraduate 0008 ChrisG

    Chris Garroway


    Master Scuba Diver Trainer
    Worked:Lady Elliot Island, Australia


    "All of this was made possible by the dedicated crew at Dive Otago who opened the door to our underwater world"

    "Hey guys! I've been instructing in Australia now for nearly 4 years and want to say a big thank you for your help in getting me here in the first place. I've worked in Airlie Beach, Cairns and now an amazing island called Lady Elliot where I've dived with Manta Rays nearly every day for the past 2 and a half years. After more than 1200 dives I've seen Tiger Sharks, Hammerheads, hundreds of turtles and many other amazing marine creatures. Last year I dived the President Coolidge in Vanuatu, getting down to 60m in the process. All this was made possible by the dedicated crew at Dive Otago who opened the door to our underwater world, and a life less ordinary. Thank you so much."


  • DiveGraduate 0013 Jen

    Jen Clent


    PADI Course Director and Regional Manager
    Worked:Tulum Resort, Riviera Maya - Mexico and Dive Otago, Dunedin - New Zealand


    "I am the envy of lots of people, I have worked and travelled all over the world and now I have a real career doing something that I love, in a place that I love, amongst all my friends and family."

    "After my Diploma I headed to Mexico’s Riviera Maya where I worked in a resort in Tulum teaching Discover Scuba Divers, Open Water, Advanced Open Water and took snorkelling tours to both the ocean and the amazing cenotes. After returning to New Zealand in 2006 I joined the Dive Otago team. I continued my own training to become a PADI Staff Instructor which enabled me to assist teaching divers to become instructors. After gaining incredible experience at Dive Otago I was accepted onto the PADI Course Directors Training Course in Borneo and became a Course Director in 2013. This meant I was able to pass on my knowledge, experience and enthusiasm to others who wish to create a life doing the same. I now work directly for PADI Asia Pacific as Regional Manager – I get to travel around both NZ and Fiji and support both PADI Resort and Retail Association members and individual members in an industry that I hope to be part of for a very long time.
    I have travelled extensively all over the world and have been lucky to dive in places like the Red Sea, Egypt, Galapagos Islands, Canada, Turkey, Great Barrier Reef, Australia, Fiji, Tonga, Thailand, Costa Rica and all around New Zealand." Completing my Instructor training in Dunedin set me up for one of the most rewarding careers I could have hoped for! During my Diploma I met some amazing people and was actually sad to graduate as it was so much fun to be a student here in Dunedin. Learning to dive and then teach and supervise divers in Otago’s temperate waters meant I entered the industry in Mexico and actually found teaching in the clear blue, warm Caribbean waters easy.
    I was lucky to also complete some further training myself including full cave diver, Nitrox, Advanced Nitrox and Deep Air. I can’t think of ever doing anything different – my favourite thing ever is being underwater!


  • DiveGraduate 0004 ChrisBrooks

    Chris Brooks


    PADI Divemaster, ADAS Offshore Diver Medical Technician and ADAS AS 2815 Part 3 Diver
    Places Worked: South Island - New Zealand


    "The coolest thing I have seen is the inside of the turbine chamber in the Waitaki dam! It is massive and I liken it to a huge concrete cathedral."

    "Since graduating I have mainly been working in the South Island of New Zealand. Some of the places I have worked and tasks I have undertaken include the Tekapo Ohau Canal, installing a flow meter for Meridian Energy at Pukaki Ohau Canal, Lake Wakatipu, installing a depth guage for ski field operations at Lake Alta, installing a stilling pond at Lake Aviemore (Aviemore Dam), swam into the turbine chamber and opened stuck drain valve and removed and replaced the Ddm intake screens at Lake Waitaki (Waitaki Dam) and assisted with a NIWA survey at Ravensdown Wharf in Dunedin harbor. I have also inspected ships and assisted with the removal of rig pilot vessel by crane at Port Chalmers, worked on the waste water pipelines that run off St Kilda and Waldronville and undertaken ship inspections, salvaged a gold dredge at the Earnscleugh gold mine and hull cleaning and searched for lost equipment and machinery at Timaru Port.

    The Dive Master training at Dive Otago has helped me a great deal with my commercial diving career. It has provided me a lot more confidence in many different situations, especially working in tight places underwater and in zero visibility. It taught me to trust my gear and provided me with the skills to look after it properly so that it looks after you.

    The team building side of my Dive Master training has been invaluable in the commercial diving industry. A huge amount of trust is necessary in this industry and completing a dive job requires every team member to work together. You need to trust your whole team from your colleagues on the surface who look after your breathing gas and the power for the underwater tools, to the person driving the crane that gets you in and out of the water and even the person that gets you a warm drink after a long dive.The communication skills that I learnt during my time at Dive Otago have also been extremely important. Even in good underwater conditions, it can be really hard to provide updates to the team on the surface. I learnt from my Dive Master training to stay calm and talk slow and clearly because miscommunication with the surface can mean an injury to myself or my work mates. My job has taken me all around the South Island region which has been great.

  • DiveGraduate 0001 Matt

    Matt Pearson


    Master Scuba Diver Trainer  
    Places Worked Australia


    "If you are looking for a change then head to Dive Otago and sign up for the Instructor Course. I highly recommend it!"

    At the start of 2010 I thought that I needed a little excitement in my life so I decided to enrol in the 36 week Diploma in Professional Scuba Instruction course at Dive Otago in Dunedin. This turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made. I entered the course having zero experience at all; I was even almost afraid of the sea and had only ever been snorkelling a few times in my life.

    Within a few weeks from the start of the course I had already racked up over ten open water dives and had achieved my first certification as a PADI Open Water Diver and loved it! We were taught all about the diving hardware and how to maintain and service most of it; First Aid right through to the level of a First Aid Instructor; Rescue diving and under water navigation; these among others were only some of the skills that greatly enhanced my confidence and abilities to dive as well as standing out from the others when I eventually applied for a diving job in the Whitsunday islands of Australia.

    Within 4 weeks of graduating as a PADI Open Water Scuba Specialty Instructor I had acquired a job taking people out on 3 or 4 day sailing cruises, taking clients diving all through the World-Renowned Whitsunday Islands and Great Barrier reef – DREAM JOB – Doing nothing but diving in 30 degree water with turtles and huge tropical fish while hanging out with a whole bunch of different exciting new people."


  • DiveGraduate 0002 Lyndsay

    Lindsay Devery


    PADI IDC Staff Instructor and  Service Technician
    Worked:Get Wet, Hamilton, Dive Otago, Dunedin - New Zealand and Jetty Dive Centre, Coffs Harbour - Australia


    "Keep your mind fresh because theres always something about the underwater world that is worth learning"

    "As a dive instructor I have worked in both New Zealand and Australia. In my job at Jetty Dive Centre we do regular trips overseas and I have had the opportunity to dive on the SS President Coolidge ship wreck in Vanuatu and experience the ultimate Shark Diving experience in Fiji. A normal day diving starts at 7am when we get all the customers and students ready with dive gear and tanks before loading the van and heading down to the marina. Once at the marina, we load the boat (Wildfin - a 12m ridged inflatable with two 350 V8 Yamaha outboards which is very quick!) and make the short trip out to our main dive site, South Solitary Island. After a double dive it's time to head back home and clean up - a task everyone loves doing haha! After all the customers and students have been dealt with and the gear is cleaned and put away, we head back to the shop to do things like servicing regulators for the rest of the day. I love the area - there is plenty to see out at the Solitary Islands as there is a mix of tropical marine species and cold water marine species. The best thing I have seen under water was actually a Sea Lion at the Mole in Otago - AMAZING!! The second best would be diving with about 25-30 Grey Nurse Sharks - ya can't beat that. Best job on earth EVER!!! Get in to it!"

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Finding a job you really love is as much about who you know as what you know... and we know a few! 

Our graduates have treked the globe and worked in all sorts of weird and wonderful places. Once you have graduated you will have access to our network connections to help you find the job you are after.

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