Dover Samuels takes one last dive to see the Rainbow Warrior

By Dean Nathan
  • Northland

He is a man well known for his diving exploits.  At almost 80 years old Dover Samuels has received an invite to dive the wreck of the Rainbow Warrior as his final deep sea dive.

This is a return for Dover Samuels to dive the famous wreck of the Rainbow Warrior which he played a lead role in scuttling off the coast of his home at Matauri.  It's a dive he hasn't done for over 20 years.

“I've been on the receiving end of a bit of cheek from elders telling me to beware that I'm not a young man anymore and I'm too old to deep sea dive the wreckage.  And my reply to them has been, after this I'm going to dive and hunt for a whale to take home.”

A close family friend, Kelly Weeds of the Dive Zone Company in the Bay of Islands has invited Dover along with his daughter Cadence Samuels to dive the wreck which lies nearly 100 feet down on the seafloor.

“It's a big day for me because it's close to Christmas and we're here to dive the remnants of the Rainbow Warrior.  I have fond memories of our elders who supported having it scuttled here because of all the action it lead in caring for the Pacific environment and its people.”

Above his home at Matauri the north-westerly wind breezes on the living memorial to the Rainbow Warrior.  While out at sea Dover is preparing for his second dive of the morning.

“Irrespective of the wind we can come to shelter on this side of the island for our second dive in the hope we can get some crayfish and kina to take home. At certain times there is no need to dive because the crayfish are in such an abundance that on the outgoing tide they're walking on the rocks and in the kelp.  Your feet don't even get wet getting crayfish to feed the family, so it's not a problem.  But in recent times the resource has diminished to the point where you have to dive for them.”

Today Dover has completed his last deep sea dive and returns home with some fresh seafood.

“This is the world of the Ngāti Kura people. It's the world I was born into next the sea with my feet in the water.  Now that I'm closing in on 80 years of age, I'm getting even stronger and living life to the full.”