New Zealand

Dichichthys sp. from the ROV SuBastian during Coral Sea Surveys
Dichichthys sp., a shark from the same genus as the new species.

Scientists Unveil the Roughback Bristle Shark

William T. White and his team of researchers described the distinct characteristics of the Roughback Bristle Shark through meticulous examination of its size, coloring, body structure, texture, dental arrangement, egg cases, and genetic makeup, and published their their study in the journal "Fishes." Residing at astonishing depths between 2,200 feet and 3,900 feet, the newfound shark species has, thus far, exclusively inhabited the waters off the western coast of New Zealand's North Island. 

Giant manta ray. Photo by Scott Bennett
Giant manta ray

How big is it? Drones assisting in manta ray research

A global breakthrough in recording manta ray information has been made by an Auckland University doctoral candidate. In a study entitled “How Big Is That Manta Ray?” published in Drones, Edy Setyawan outlined how a drone camera, with the addition of a PVC pipe in the ocean, can be utilised to accurately measure the world’s largest ray species. “I could see that from the drone there was some size variation, some mantas, they are bigger than the others,” said Setyawan. “It’s quite cheap using a small drone, but it can give us a big impact on manta ray conservation.”

Jeroen Jongejans, Dive Tutukaka, New Zealand, scuba diving advocate, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, XRay Mag, X-Ray Magazine, scuba diving news, Poor Knights
Jeroen Jongejan pictured in February 2017 at Dive! Tutukaka. He wrote the following caption "Full boats, happy boy, thanks to fantastic shop crew!!"

Jeroen Jongejans of Dive! Tutukaka has died

Dive! Tutukaka posted the following on their Facebook page.

"Jeroen Jongejans, owner and founder of Dive! Tutukaka passed away suddenly last night. He was on the water, in his happy place - paddle boarding in Tūtūkākā Harbour. We are all struggling to come to terms with this loss. 

The Department of Conservation

A spokesman for the Department of Conservation (DoC) stated ''We in the conservation world in Northland are deeply feeling the loss of Jeroen. He was a long-term active member and chair of the Northland Conservation Board and was a passionate advocate for the Poor Knights Marine Reserve, actively promoting its uniqueness and conservation value from its creation, to this day,'' DoC said in a statement.


"Where can I begin… Tutukaka, lost one of most shining stars, a true legend, that I had the pleasure to work for, for four years. A great entrepreneur, who create Dive! Tutukaka, one of the biggest and most efficient company in south hemisphere, a marine reserve, (that know working in Hawaii I See how right he is), two sunken war ships that created a massive artificial reef along TuUkaka coast, and many others great things.

Palaeontologist and PhD student James Rule inspects the fossil skull of the newly identified monk seal species.
Palaeontologist and PhD student James Rule inspects the fossil skull of the newly identified monk seal species.

Discovery of seal fossils leads to new revelations

The discovery of the extinct monk seal species came about after an international team of biologists examined seven fossil specimens (including a complete skull) found on south Taranaki beaches in New Zealand between 2009 and 2016.

Named Eomonachus belegaerensis, the new species was about 2.5m long and weighed around 200 to 250kg. It is believed to have lived in the waters around New Zealand three million years ago.

Lockdown Local Diving

Photo by Kate Jonker: Speckled klipfish at Pinnacle dive site in Gordon’s Bay, South Africa

As many divers face travel restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic, our contributors highlight the often overlooked or unsung yet intriguing diving that can be found in one's own backyard.

Sperm whales off Dominica. The sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) or cachalot is the largest of the toothed whales

2016 New Zealand quake disrupted sperm whales' foraging behaviour

In November 2016, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in New Zealand triggered underwater mudslides in the underwater canyon off the coastline. This led to high-velocity currents to flush 850 tonnes of sediment from the canyon into the ocean.

This "canyon flushing" caused what was once a diverse ecosystem of invertebrates along the Kaikoura underwater canyon to become as "quiet as a desert."

A paper in the Deep Sea Research Part I journal describes how sperm whales were subsequently affected by the quake and how they changed their foraging habits as a result.

Great White Shark
Great White Shark

Stewart Island shark cage diving creates controversy

A New Zealand parliamentary select committee has raised concerns about the potential human risk from shark cage diving around Stewart Island. The Local Government and Environment Committee published a report considering a petition calling for the Department of Conservation (DOC) to immediately and permanently cease shark diving. The petition was created by Stewart Island resident Helen Cave and signed by 768 people.

(Filephoto). White shark eyeballing divers in a cage off Guadalupe

Shark cage diving not a risk to other water users

Residents of Stewart Island, New Zealand have pleaded for politicians to halt shark cage diving in their waters. The residents and paua divers have expressed fears that the cage diving is attracting great white sharks to the area and putting them at risk, saying they live in fear of a fatal shark attack.

Lermontov Wreck

Make way for the shoreline— the ship is taking on water and fast! Perhaps these were not the exact words used to describe the situation, but the sinking of the MS Mikhail Lermontov has now become one of the largest diveable wrecks in New Zealand for both recreational and technical divers.