Dennis Buurman has always had a love for the outdoors. Dennis's parents emmigrated from the Netherlands and Dennis was born in Cheviot in North Canterbury. Dennis’s father worked on various farms in the North Canterbury region, so from an early age exposure to the outdoors became a normal part of every day life.
At the age of 5, Dennis's family moved to Oaro, just south of Kaikoura and his father introduced him to the local outdoor environment, which would influence his choice of careers in the years to come.
Dennis went to Christchurch Teachers College and trained as a primary school teacher, doing one years teaching in Kaikoura before taking a break. The break however turned out to become rather long lasting. In 1978 Dennis took up commercial rock lobster fishing and developed a successful business in this vocation over the next 14 years.
In 1991, Dennis and his wife Lynette sold out of the fishing industry, to join his brother Rik and business partner Ian Bradshaw, in their tourist operation, Dolphin Encounter, which involved swimming with and watching the dusky dolphins. Kaikoura was in the early days of a burgeoning tourist development.
The necessity of obtaining good images for promotional purposes meant Dennis’s limited knowledge of photography was about to change. His first auto focus camera was a Minolta 8000i (an ex Barbara Todd camera) and the skills developed on the land at a young age were put to good use in a different field, the ocean.