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Minister to Open New Zealand's Largest Dive Event

Minister of Conservation to Open New Zealand's Largest Dive Event

The Rt Honourable Chris Carter will open the 50th birthday celebrations for one of New Zealand's longest running non-profit associations, New Zealand Underwater on Saturday June 7 at the Sheraton Hotel Auckland.

New Zealand Underwater began in 1953 as a group of people interested in skin diving to spear fish and has evolved into an organisation dedicated to looking after the interests of underwater sports people in New Zealand. NZU now boasts more than 2000 members and provides underwater programs for young people, diver safety programs and a national focus on the protection of the marine environment.

NZU's 50th birthday celebrations are open to the public and take place this weekend from June 6-8 at Auckland's Sheraton Hotel. The main event is a Dive Expo to be held on Saturday June 7 where the official opening ceremony will take place.

The Dive Expo will include a line-up of seven keynote speakers. These include famous Australian shark attack survivor, Rodney Fox who will talk about sharks, shark attacks and saving sharks. Maco Zeeman, who will speak about sinking naval ships, Bill Day and Dave Moran who will speak about the salvage and retrieving of underwater treasure, Darren Shields will talk about oceanic spearfishing and award-winning photographer Andy Belcher will share his expertise of underwater photography. There will also be a presentation from the Oceans Underwater Photographic Society

Those who attend the Dive Expo will also be able to see a variety of exciting displays including a trade display of the latest diving technology from dive industry leaders and a museum of diving memorabilia put together by New Zealand Underwater. The Dive Museum will feature a naval recompression chamber and antique diving equipment. Divers from all over New Zealand have loaned items for the diving museum.

On Sunday NZU's AGM will be followed by three workshops. The first is anenvironmental workshop where Rodney Fox will discuss shark conservation. Thesecond is a discussion about marine reserves and the third is a technical workshop looking at the shipwreck Niagara as viewed by an ROV. Diving medicine-safety issues such as avoiding the bends will also be discussed.

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