Tony Howell has always been passionate about passing on his skills through teaching. He had a 28 year career in the army before becoming a full time PADI scuba diving Instructor.
Army Career Highlights
Most people don’t know about Tony’s army career so here are some of the highlights. Tony joined the Regular New Zealand Army at the tender age of 16.
One of the courses that he passed with distinction was the Army’s 18 week All Arms Instructor course. This was the Army’s top instructor training course. By the time he was 18 he was a well qualified soldier and instructing much older soldiers on soldier skills. The principles he learnt there served him well for his Army service and to this day as New Zealand’s senior PADI Course Director.
Tony served on active service in South East Asia helping and protecting those peoples. He saw service in Australia, Europe, Fiji, Malaysia, Singapore, South Vietnam, Thailand, Tonga and United States of America.
He was commissioned as an officer at the age of 21 and made use of his excellent instructional skills to train the various groups of soldiers that were placed under his command. He was posted as a senior instructor to the Army’s School of Infantry for nearly three years in recognition of his qualifications and ability. His last Army job was as the Army’s Director of Training. Tony has the ability to draw the very best from people and that is a rare skill. He firmly believes that sound training is the basis for all things.
Tony resigned from the Army after 28 years of service, having attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. His aim was to continue helping people achieve excellence – this time in the dive industry.
Diving Career Highlights
Ever since he was a kid, Tony wanted to scuba dive. He finally became a scuba diver while serving in Singapore and quickly became very passionate about the sport! When he returned to New Zealand his Army instructor experience was quickly recognised and he was invited to teach dive Instructor candidates how to teach. This resulted in the award of his initial NZUA/CMAS Dive Instructor qualification in 1975. This was soon upgraded to a full 3 Star CMAS rating, the highest achievable in New Zealand at that time. NZUA changed over to PADI in 1986 and so did Tony.
In 1989 Tony received a personal invitation (now you apply) to attend a PADI Course Director Training Course in Sydney. He is still training dive instructors and is New Zealand’s senior PADI Course Director.
In 2003, Tony decided to learn about and teach Technical diving. This journey took him to the Philippines and Australia to gain his qualifications. Now he is Wellington’s only TDI Instructor Trainer and one of the most qualified in New Zealand.
Diving is like flying – without the bump at the bottom. Both air and water are three-dimensional and both are challenging environments. Diving is a life-changing activity; it can become addictive for those with a sense of fun, excitement and adventure.
The greatest thrill for an instructor is seeing the beaming smile and excitement in someone who has totally connected with scuba and the sea. Their life is changed forever!
Wellington is the best diving city in New Zealand and the only one with a Marine Reserve within its boundaries. Diving off the shore here is easy, cheap (you don’t need a boat) and of high quality. For the last 39 years, Tony has enjoyed teaching divers, technical divers and Instructors. When not doing that he is either planning dive adventures for divers or he is quietly cruising underwater on his rebreather, silently (no bubbles) interacting with his underwater neighbours.
New Zealand Sea Adventures (NZSA)
Tony established NZSA in 1990 and it was Wellington’s first PADI 5 Star Career Development Centre, EMP approved MFA Training Centre and TDI Instructor Development Facility.
NZSA is known for caring for the environment, attention to safety, professional standards and drive to increase the number of women in diving (Tony has three diving daughters). With a dive pool on site, running courses is easy, flexible and fun. Time is not a problem, customers are the priority. As a result, customers quickly become friends; many also end up working in the dive industry as well.
He has so many dive qualifications it is easier just to list them.
Summary of Key Dive Career Qualifications:
Summary of PADI Specialty Instructor Trainer Qualifications :
Summary of Service Technician Qualifications:
Summary of Non-PADI Related Qualifications:
Congratulations on making it all the way down the list – you will probably see something new next time you look at this list as Tony is committed to training not only his students but also himself.