Tony Howell’s Portfolio

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:

    • NZUA Scuba Instructor, Sep 75
    • 3 Star CMAS Instructor, Nov 84
    • PADI Open Water Instructor, Sep 86
    • PADI Medic First Aid Instructor, Sep 87
    • PADI Course Director & MFA Instructor Trainer, Jul 89
    • EMP:MFA (& Paediatric) Instructor, May 90  
    • EFR Instructor Trainer, Oct 02
    • TDI ER Instructor Trainer, Sep 08
    • TDI Advanced Trimix Instructor, Dec 05
    • IANTD KISS Rebreather Instructor, Nov 09
    • KISS Air Deco CCR Instructor, Jul 10
    • DSAT Tec Trimix Instructor, Dec 10  

Summary of PADI Specialty Instructor Trainer Qualifications :

    • Night Diver, Feb 87
    • Wreck Diver, Feb 87
    • Deep Diver, Feb 87
    • Under Water Hunter, Feb 87
    • Under Water Archaeology, Feb 87
    • AWARE, Feb 87
    • Peak Performance Buoyancy, Feb 87
    • Coral Reef Conservation, Feb 87
    • Equipment, Jan 88
    • Research, Jan 88
    • Search and Recovery, Jan 88
    • Under Water Navigator, Jan 88
    • Under Water Photography, Jan 88
    • Small Boat and Seamanship, Jun 90
    • Drift Diving, Oct 91 
    • Under Water Naturalist, Apr 92
    • Altitude Diver, May 93
    •  Enriched Air (Nitrox), Jul 96
    • Dry Suit, Nov 96
    • Cavern, Jan 97
    • Multi-Level, Sep 97
    • Oxygen First Aid, Jul 99
    • Videography, Feb 00
    • Diver Propulsion Vehicle, Dec 00
    • Gas Blender – EANx & Trimix, May 02
    • Aware Fish ID, May 06
    • Digital Photography, Aug 06
    • SMB, Apr 08
    • Emergency Oxygen Provider, May 08
    • Rec Sidemount, May 13    


Summary of Service Technician Qualifications:

    • Dacor, Jun 88
    • Mares, Aug 98
    • USD Aqualung, Aug 92
    • Dacor Modular, Sep 95
    • Sherwood, Oct 00
    • Apollo, Aug 01 
    • Sherwood, Aug 01
    • Scubapro, Mar 02
    • O2 Service Technician, Dec 03
    • Scubapro X650 update, Apr 04
    • Scubapro, Jun 09
    •  Scubapro, Aug 09    


Summary of Non-PADI Related Qualifications:


    • Ship Station Radio Licence, Dec 84
    • Local Launch master, Aug 90
    • Construction Diver Class III, Dec 92
    • Construction Safety Supervisor, Aug 93
    • Gas Blender & Service Technician, Nov 98
    • NHF Level 2 CPR Instructor, May 99
    • DAN Oxygen Instructor Trainer, June 00
    • NZU Master of Small Dive Boat Trainer, Mar 01
    • Coastguard Boat Master Tutor, Mar 03
    • Coastguard Boat Handler Tutor/Examiner
    • Coastguard VHF Tutor/Examiner, Mar 03
    • SDI Open Water Scuba Instructor Trainer, Dec 03
    • SDI Specialty Instructor Trainer – numerous, Dec 03
    • TDI Advanced Gas Blending Instructor Trainer, Dec 03
    • TDI O2 Service Technician Instructor Trainer, Dec 03
    • TDI Deco Procedures Instructor Trainer, Jun 03
    • TDI Extended Range Instructor, Dec 04
    • TDI Advanced Trimix Instructor, Dec 05
    • TDI Optima CCR Diver, Sept 07
    • TDI Extended Range Instructor Trainer, Sep 08
    • IART KISS CCR Diver, Mar  09
    • IANTD KISS CCR Instructor, Nov 09
    • TDI KISS Air Deco CCR Instructor, Jul 10
    • DSAT Tec Rec Deep Instructor, Sep 10
    • DSAT Tec Rec Deep Instructor Trainer, Sep 10
    • DSAT Tec Trimix Instructor, Dec 10
    • DSAT Tec Trimix Instructor Trainer, Dec 10
    • TDI Trimix Instructor Trainer, Jan 11
    • IANTD GEM PSCR Diver, Mar 11
    • CMAS Advanced Mixed Gas CCR, May 11
    • IANTD GEM PSCR Instructor, Sep 11
    • PADI Rec Sidemount Specialty Instructor Trainer, Mar 12
    • DSAT Technical Sidemount Instructor Trainer, Jun 12
    • TDI Intro to Tech Instructor Trainer, May 13
    • TDI Sidemount Instructor Trainer, May 13
    • Medic First Aid Instructor: ECI Level 2, 12 Dec 2013
    • PADI Self-Reliant Instructor Trainer, 28 Oct 2014  

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.