Recently we announced the six diverse – both in geography and industry – SMEs that will be competing for a $50,000 Business Growth Grant in September.
To get to know each of the businesses a bit better, we are doing short profile pieces on each of them.
Up first, a dive company from Tutukaka, called… Dive! Tutukaka.
Diving worth crossing the world for
Award-winning Dive! Tutukaka is New Zealand’s largest dive charter company with five ocean-going vessels taking over 14,000 people to The Poor Knights Islands– “the best sub-tropical diving in the world” – every year.
With staff numbers ranging from 10 to 60 in the high season, their goal is to be the leading and most successful New Zealand based tourism operator, through delivering the best possible service, information and quality time to our customers, benefiting all our stakeholders, and striving to act as atawai (guardian) to the local marine environment.
Owner and director Jeroen Jongejans has lived on the Tutukaka Coast, running dive operations, for nearly thirty years, and Dive! Tutukaka was born in 1999 with the merger of two competing dive companies to become the largest dive charter operator in NZ and created the “Dive Capital” of NZ.
They are familiar with award success, winning the supreme winners of the 2006 NZ Tourism Awards, Supreme winners of the 2009 Northland Business Awards, and again finalists in the 2015 NZ Tourism Awards, plus they took out the 2015 NZ Tourism Champion Award.
Whilst diving and dive training were their initial focus, over the last decade they have also branched out into the non-diving market through a product called Perfect Day, an interactive eco tour, delivering customers insights into the workings and benefits of marine reserves, outlining the natural history and highlighting our unique and endemic species, regale the fascinating Maori history, and actively engage in snorkelling, paddle boarding and, when possible, swimming with dolphins.
They also developed a specific onshore dive training facility, a saltwater training pool, and are about to open a small boutique lodge in November this year.