New Zealand Underwater Heritage Group Inc
The Kelly Tarlton Recognition Award for Services to Underwater Heritage

The Kelly Tarlton Recognition Award for Services to Underwater Heritage recognizes individuals or groups who have made significant and lasting contributions through research, practice, or advocacy to underwater heritage, maritime archaeology or maritime history. The award recognizes members of the underwater heritage community for long-term accomplishments or those who have made a notable impact through a significant innovation, body of work or publication. A candidate’s contributions can include innovative ideas or maritime conservation projects, including services that have promoted underwater heritage in New Zealand or wider Pacific communities linked to New Zealand. The award includes a certificate of recognition, and an invitation for the recipient to present a keynote talk at the annual NZUHG Conference. A public citation for the award will be placed on the NZUHG website. While no monetary award is made, awardees may be assisted with travel and sustenance costs to attend the NZUHG conference.

Kelly Tarlton – the man

Marine explorer, diver, conservationist and treasure hunter, Kelly Tarlton (1937-1985) was posthumously inducted into the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame in 2012 and is regarded by many as New Zealand’s equivalent of Jacques Cousteau.  Kelly is best known for establishing his namesake educational marine aquarium; Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World, which opened in Auckland on the 25th January 1985.  He died seven weeks later. He had further developed the acrylic underwater tunnel concept so that it curved around corners. This development was subsequently copied in aquariums around the world. An early convert to scuba diving, Kelly and partners started a commercial diving company in 1966. This necessitated Kelly to develop early diving and salvaging equipment which allowed him to find and dive on many of New Zealand’s most famous shipwrecks. His two signature wrecks are the Elingamite and the Tasmania. Renowned for his meticulous research, Kelly located two of the three anchors lost from Jean Francois Marie de Surville’s ship, the St. Jean Baptiste in Doubtless Bay in 1769. Two of these anchors were recovered – one is in the Far North Regional Museum and the other in Te Papa Wellington. These successful endeavors led him to create the Museum of Shipwrecks in the Bay of Islands in the early 1970s. Kelly is survived by his wife Rosemary and daughters, Fiona and Nicole.

Making a nomination for the Kelly Tarlton Recognition Award

The deadline for nominations for the 2020 Kelly Tarlton Recognition Award is 1st October, 2020.

Nominations for the award must include:

  1. A statement by the nominators summarizing the candidate’s accomplishments, description of the significance of the work, and justification of the nomination (two pages maximum);
  2. Brief curriculum vitae of the nominee;
  3. The nomination must be signed by two nominators, one of whom must be a financial member of NZUHG. The nomination form must also be signed by the nominee who agrees to being nominated and if a successful awardee, agrees to have their name and photograph included in NZUHG publications and listed on the NZUHG website.
  4. A concise statement (one sentence) of the achievement(s) for which the award is being given. This statement will appear on the award certificate and on the NZUHG website.

The nomination rules are:

  1. The nominee must have a connection to the Pacific and New Zealand Underwater Heritage.
  2. One nominator must be a NZUHG member.
  3. Self-nomination is not allowed.
  4. Nominations that do not result in an award can be resubmitted.
  5. Members of the current NZUHG Awards Committee are not eligible for nomination.

The Kelly Tarlton Recognition Award Sub-committee selects the winner and presents the recognition award. This sub-committee is selected annually at the first committee meeting after the AGM from the members of the NZUHG committee, and consists of the Chair and two committee members.

A general call for nominations is issued to the full membership for the award in the first quarter of each year. The Kelly Tarlton Award is normally presented annually, but if no qualified candidates are nominated in a given year, at the Committee’s discretion the award may not be presented. Individuals may not receive an award more than once. The awardee will keep the Kelly Tarlton trophy for one year but may be awarded a small individual trophy as a personal award.

Download the Terms of Reference for nominations  PDF


Download Nomination form PDF


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