Courses & Events

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.

New Zealand Sea Adventures (NZSA)

Tony Howell 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.

Tony Howell – Diving Career Highlights

Ever since he was a kid, Tony wanted to scuba dive. He finally became a scuba diver while serving in the New Zealand Army 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 Howell 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 teaching 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 on its coast line. Diving off the shore here is easy, cheap (you don’t need a boat) and of high quality. Since 1975, Tony Howell has enjoyed teaching divers, technical divers and Instructors. When not doing that he is either writing books, planning dive adventures for divers or he is quietly cruising underwater on his rebreather, silently (no bubbles) interacting with his underwater neighbours.

Tony has so many dive qualifications it is easier just to list them. (* indicates a qualification is not in current teaching status).

Summary of Key Teaching Status Dive Qualifications:

PADI Course Director, Jul 89

MFA Facilitator, Jul 87

EFR Instructor Trainer, Oct 02   

TDI Course Director, Jun 03                         

DSAT Tec Trimix Instructor Trainer, Dec 10 

TDI Advanced Trimix Instructor Trainer, Dec 14

TDI KISS CCR Air Diluent Instructor Trainer, Oct 2015

TDI KISS CCR Mixed Gas Diluent Instructor, Nov 2016.

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 Side-mount, May 12   

Self-Reliant, Oct 2014 

Summary of Boating Related Qualifications:

Ship Station Radio Licence, Dec 84

Local Launch master, Aug 90

NZUA Master of Small Commercial Dive Boats Trainer, Mar 01

Coastguard Boat Master Tutor, Mar 03  *

Coastguard Boat Handler Tutor/Examiner  *

Coastguard VHF Tutor/Examiner, Mar 03  *

Summary of Non-PADI Related Qualifications:

NHF Level 2 CPR Instructor, May 99

DAN Oxygen Instructor Trainer, June 00  *

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 Extended Range Instructor Trainer, Sep 08

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

CMAS Advanced Mixed Gas CCR, May 11

IANTD GEM PSCR Instructor, Sep 11

DSAT Technical Side-mount Instructor Trainer, Jun 12

TDI Intro to Tech Instructor Trainer, May 13

TDI Side-mount Instructor Trainer, May 13

Medic First Aid Instructor: ECI Level 2, Dec 13

TDI Advanced Trimix Instructor Trainer, Dec 14

TDI KISS Air Diluent Instructor Trainer, Oct 15

TDI KISS Mixed Gas Diluent Instructor, Nov 16.

Summary of Service Technician Qualifications:

Dacor, Jun 88

Mares, Aug 98

USD Aqualung, Aug 92

Dacor Modular, Sep 95

Gas Blender & Service Technician, Nov 98

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   

Early Dive Qualifications:

BSAC Second Class Diver, 73

NZUA Scuba Instructor, Sep 75  *

3 Star CMAS Instructor, Nov 84  *

PADI Open Water Instructor, Sep 86

PADI Medic First Aid Instructor, Sep 87  *

MFA Instructor Trainer, Jul 89  *

MFA (Paediatric) Instructor Trainer, May 90  *

Construction Diver Class III, Dec 92  *

Construction Safety Supervisor, Aug 93  *

TDI Optima Air Diluent Diver, Sep 07

IART KISS CCR Level 1, Mar 09

IANTD KISS Rebreather Instructor, Nov 09  *

Tony Howell – 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 age of 16. One of the early 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.

He was commissioned as an officer at the age of 20 and made use of his excellent instructional skills to train the various groups of soldiers that were placed under his command. Tony served on active service in South East Asia helping and protecting those peoples. He saw over seven years’ overseas service in Australia, Europe, Fiji, Malaysia, Singapore, South Vietnam, Thailand, Tonga, United Kingdom and United States of America. Tony even visited Antarctica. He commanded soldiers for most of that time and in several of those countries.

As well as command and staff appointments, Tony was posted as a senior instructor at 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 to his country, having attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.


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.

Tony's books

Click the images for more details on each of his books.