Diving pioneer, marine conservationist Wade Doak dies, aged 79

Diving pioneer, author and marine conservationist Wade Doak has died, aged 79. 

A leading figure in the early New Zealand diving scene, Doak shared his love of marine life through his photography and books. 

"We teach kids at school about lions and tigers and giraffes but moki, hapuka, crayfish - that's our world," Doak said in an earlier interview. 

It was a passion that started at a young age - his very first diving buddy Keith Gordon says he met Wade in Christchurch when he was just 14.

They made their own breathing apparatus and underwater cameras because diving gear was too expensive. 

"They worked and we didn't drown ourselves, but we had a lot of fun," says Gordon. "We were young when we got started and it was all a new adventure for us, and we lived it."

In the 1960s while diving with Kelly Tarlton, Wade discovered silver and gold treasure on the shipwrecked Elingamite. 

He was also instrumental in securing marine reserve status for the Poor Knights Islands, which received full protection in 1998. 

"For the long-term future of New Zealand I think it's a brilliant decision," Doak said at the time.

Doak was awarded a Queen's Service Medal in 2012 for his services to marine conservation. 

He shared his love for marine life through his photography and writing, producing a number of books about his adventures. 

"He was prolific, he kept on writing and editing and collecting all sorts of materials and sharing it with people, his impact is astounding," says Jeroen Jongejans, owner of Dive Tutukaka. 

Doak was 79. 


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