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We could zoom to the Moon, or float out to Mars

Sarah Putt, Contributor. 10 December 2019, 8:00 am

Students from the aptly named Hope School in the Tasman District have won the chance to talk online with a NASA astronaut, in the latest effort by the NZ Space Agency to get the country excited about space travel.

The agency ran a competition for students to come up with a creative answer to the question 'what could be our future in space?'. It was run alongside the Ministry of Education's Tuia Mātauraga 2019 education programme which is available to schools across NZ, and supports Tuia-Encounters 250

Apart from the fact that I like the winning poem, which has a great fourth line:

We could zoom to the Moon
Or float out to Mars, The Red Planet,
With dusty storms
Dark red like a light that is not working properly,

I applaud the idea of getting the nation excited about space. It would have seemed improbable even five years ago, but we now have a space industry in New Zealand, and that is something to celebrate. Pioneered by Rocket Lab (and really, who cares if it's technically a NZ or a US company), and fuelled by people with a vision to turn their region into space hubs. Or rather Christchurch has.

Deloitte was commissioned by a few Government agencies to provide a strategic plan to create an aerospace sector in the city by 2025. The five-year plan sets out nine goals and associated actions based around four themes: knowledge sharing, innovation and test-bed capabilities, pathways to attract and expand businesses, education and training.

Why Christchurch?

According to the report, the reasons include the city's low air traffic, low rainfall and cloud cover, a strong electronic manufacturing cluster, a wide range of public and private environmental testing facilities. Also, its cheap.

"One of the key advantages Christchurch offers to the sector is cost, as inputs in the form of the labour, materials, and components are generally cheaper in Christchurch compared to New Zealand's other main economic centres. This is demonstrated through the relative cost of commercial rental space and inflation growth. Labour costs are lower than most other urban centres across New Zealand despite a highly educated workforce with deep engineering capability," the report notes.

The Deloitte report is very high level, but one stated goal is to attract 20 aerospace companies to Christchurch by 2025.

You can check out the full report here, and you can read the Hope School students' winning poem here.



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Ron Segal 13 December 2019, 7:06 pm

The achievements of Rocket Lab are absolutely amazing and inspiring but how does that translate into Christchurch becoming a space centre. Would love it but don't get it.

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