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Tugboat cleanup, Oriental Bay

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2023 Annual Harbour Cleanup

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South Coast Cleanup 2023

The annual South Coast...

Successful Event

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2023 Annual Harbour Cleanup

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Great Big Waterfront Clean-Up

Event by Wellington...

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Our Mission Statement

Ghost Diving New Zealand aims to actively promote environmental awareness and conservation by the pro-active removal of rubbish and debris from the sea floor and coastline.
Ghost Diving New Zealand encourages passionate volunteers to help in the global fight against pollution, with emphasis on education, conservation and exploration.

Our Story

Ghost Diving NZ is the New Zealand branch of an international organisation who collaborate worldwide with various local groups of technical and salvage divers to remove lost fishing gear.  GDNZ have embraced this concept and diversified it by also removing rubbish and debris (bottles, cans, street cones, shopping trolleys), fishing gear (hooks, line and sinkers), abandoned fishing nets and various other dumped items we find (cray pots, sea cages) from the local environment.

Officially established in 2015 as Ghost Fishing NZ and rebranded to Ghost Diving NZ in 2020, is a proactive clean-up crew consisting entirely of voluntary scuba divers, free divers and shore crew. Unlike most other clean-up events which are organised through local dive clubs, we utilise technical and GUE trained scuba divers and a free-diving team for all in-water activities. The unique combination of scuba and free divers enables litter/rubbish/nets to be lifted and taken to the shore in the safest possible manner, with the least exertion to the working scuba divers at depth.

We also utilise a dedicated crew of shore support who are tasked with removing the marine life from the rubbish which has been recovered. This marine life is either returned to the ocean, or re-homed in the Island Bay Marine Education Center, where it is on display to the public and used for public outreach and education.

 

The Management Team

The management team all volunteer their time towards the operation of GDNZ, planning and coordination of events, diver training, public education, and of course, getting their hands dirty with dive and shore clean ups to remove rubbish and protect marine life.

Rob Wilson

President | Founder | Dive Crew | Video Producer

Environmental activist, technical Diver, acclaimed underwater, landscape & astro photographer, and founder and driving force behind Ghost Diving New Zealand (GDNZ).

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Rob Wilson has a passion for recording the environment at its best, most clearly reflected in his award winning photography and his leadership in the New Zealand arm of the internationally respected underwater environmental group Ghost Diving. Established in 2014, and with a mission to use technical divers to remove lost, or “ghost”, fishing gear off reefs, wrecks and any other marine area, GDNZ works with local resources, government agencies and divers free divers and kayakers to literally “clean our oceans one piece of rubbish and one net at a time”.
In the water, Rob is a dedicated Technical Diver and Underwater Photographer, whose explorations and photography have had him work with submersibles for GUE’s Project Baseline in Fiji,multiple trips to the Blue Creek Resurgence “Project Middle Earth” cave diving expeditions, as well as dive many of the wrecks sunk around Aotearoa/New Zealand’s coastline. He was one of the youngest divers to certify in NZ and immediately developed a passion for diving and all things diving related. He has dived, mapped and photographed most of Wellington’s inner harbour and south coast and can be found there most diveable days – twins, scooters and camera in hand!
Above the surface Rob is an award winning and acclaimed landscape and astro photographer (see frontlinephotography.co.nz). He has exhibited at the prestigious World Press Photo Exhibition and his award winning image of the Pencarrow Lighthouse on a blustery Wellington night has been published nationally. Like many divers Rob’s love of science fiction and the dream of the stars and weightlessness was the inspiration to dive and explore both inner & outer space. On the clear nights he’s not night diving he is out photographing the Southern Sky, Milky Way and the incredible Aurora Australis (the Southern Lights).

Rob brings his passion for diving, the marine environment and photography to audiences across New Zealand and the Pacific, and has helped inspire many to dream further and fight more for the underwater world. He continues to drive GDNZ to open up new areas in NZ to work in and continues to explore new vistas to bring back images to share.

Eddie Howard

Shore team leader | Species Identification & Communications

I joined Ghost Diving in March 2016 after hearing about it on Facebook. I joined in at a clean-up and loved the chance to give back. I started out doing decrittering and communication by describing the animals found in the rubbish.

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I have always had a love for the ocean and wanted to be a Marine Biologist since I was a kid. This passion got me to Victoria University where I completed a Bachelors in Marine Biology. While I studied, I also volunteered in the NIWA invertebrate collection and then worked at the Island Bay Marine Education Centre until the end of 2022.

I am also a diver and am continuing to expand my skills, but on event days you will find me topside keeping everything running.

Andrew Stewart

Shore team | Species Identification & Communications

Andrew is the Assistant Curator of Fishes at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, and has been employed by the museum for 40 years, specializing in building the collection, and the taxonomy of deep-sea fishes, and Antarctic Fishes.

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In addition he has produced individual scientific publications, culminating in 2015 with the publication of the 2,000 page multi-volume ‘ Fishes of New Zealand’.

As well as fishes, his love of marine organisms extends to algae and invertebrates. This passion started as a 3 year old, and he never gets tired of exploring and new discoveries. The increasing footprint of humanity in our marine environment, and the prevalence of ‘out of sight, out of mind’ attitude to casual polluting means that our grandchildren may not be able to enjoy what we grew up enjoying and loving.

Educating children and adults often involves taking a complex scientific hypothesis and language and re-interpreting it into every day concepts and language. Understanding the consequences of our actions will frequently lead to changes in behaviour. It is for that reason he is part of the shore team, de-crittering rubbish the divers salvage. Getting the public to see and even hold the animals recovered we hear so often statements like ‘I didn’t know this lived there’.

He has a saying ‘If they know what’s there, they’ll care’, and that is what he sees as his most important role in Ghost Diving.

Stuart Day

Legal & Insurance | Dive Crew

Stuart has always been an avid water enthusiast having been around boats and the ocean from a young age. He qualified as a diver in 2017 and quickly became addicted.

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Having seen the condition of the underwater environment first hand, Stuart learned of Ghost Fishing NZ and quickly realised that environmental work would be a great way to put his new skills to good use and to meet other enthusiastic and likeminded individuals.

In mid-2018, Stuart attended his first clean-up as a shore crew helper and loved it, returning for other clean-ups to help in whatever capacity needed.

Erin Hewetson

Dive Team | Social Media | Communications
| Event Photography

Erin is our social media and communications coordinator, photographing and videoing at our events and working behind the scenes!

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Erin has been diving since 2018 and is an open water scuba instructor, she is now completing a degree in marine biology with a goal to better support marine conservation.

What We Do

DIVE & BEACH CLEAN UPS

Dive clean ups are Ghost Diving’s core activity, lead by our technical and GUE trained scuba divers and a free-diving team, to retrieve rubbish and ‘ghost gear’ disposed in New Zealand’s waters. While the dive teams are underwater, the shore crew removes litter from the topside.

EDUCATION & AWARENESS

A large part of our mission is raising awareness to the general public about the detrimental effects of lost fishing gear and rubbish polluting our waters by documenting our efforts through video and photography. We also host public talks led by experts in the underwater world.

DIVER & CREW TRAINING

We regularly hold training events, both theory and practical to ensure scuba divers, free divers, and shore crew are able to upskill and increase knowledge within our teams, thereby increasing efficiency, safety and capability.

PERSONAL ITEM RECOVERY

We have been contacted by many from the general public or organisations asking for our help to recover belongings accidentally dropped into the sea or unfortunately, thrown in. Some of the items we have rescued include mobile phones, cameras, prescription glasses and bikes!

PROJECT BASELINE

Project Baseline empowers passionate citizens to observe and record change within the world’s aquatic environments in a way that fosters public awareness and supports political action. We have initiated Project Baseline Clyde Quay in Wellington.

Awards