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  • Although Aotearoa New Zealand is a relative newcomer to the international space industry, a deep knowledge of space enabled early Polynesians to navigate to these islands and develop mātauranga to thrive in a new environment. Innovation and kaitiakitanga, which underpin tātai arorangi, also underpin Aotearoa New Zealand's growing space sector.

    Rights: Crown Copyright

    New Zealand Space Agency logo

    Set up in 2016, the New Zealand Space Agency is the lead government agency for space activity. The agency oversees space policy, regulation and sector development.

    We’re going on a journey to understand what activities are compatible with the values that we hold dear – whether the values of our hapū and whānau, or the values of New Zealand society at large. This is a journey for New Zealand Aotearoa, as a whole. And it is an unfolding conversation.

    David Perenara-O’Connell, Māngai, Tāwhaki Joint Venture

    Space has always been a source of fascination for humans. Our ability to access space has not dimmed our fascination – indeed, it has deepened our understanding of what’s above and provided greater insights to what is happening on Earth.

    Rights: The University of Waikato Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato

    Tātai arorangi – Māori astronomy

    Tātai arorangi – detailed astronomical knowledge – is used to navigate the ocean, plant crops, harvest mahinga kai and tell the time.

    Select here to view video transcript, discussion questions and copyright information.

    Key themes in Aotearoa New Zealand in space

    The resources featured in Aotearoa New Zealand in space reflect the themes of:

    • mōhiotanga – understanding
    • auaha – innovation
    • kaitiakitanga – protection
    • mahi tahi – collaboration
    • wawata – aspiration
    • mīharo – wonder.

    The suite of space resources showcase how satellites and remote sensing are helping scientists better understand big issues like climate change, water quality and resource management. This knowledge will help guide the actions needed to protect our land, seas and skies. The resources feature innovative research and development that is making Aotearoa an inviting and exciting place to do business.

    Rights: The University of Waikato Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato

    So you want to work in space?

    The space industry is getting bigger all of the time! Jennifer Blackburne from Dawn Aerospace says that anyone can be involved. People working in the space sector note some of the key dispositions that will be very helpful.

    Select here to view video transcript, discussion questions and copyright information.

    Wawata – seeing ourselves in space

    The resources also showcase a number of people working in the space sector. The videos reflect the expanding diversity of careers directly associated with the growing aerospace missions and industries in Aotearoa. The experts share their knowledge, personal stories and the dispositions that lead to success within the sector. In addition to providing targeted science knowledge, the experts hope to inspire ākonga to see themselves in space and to explore potential career opportunities.

    The videos include written transcripts, discussion questions to engage and deepen student interaction with the video and jargon alerts to explain content vocabulary. Access this information by clicking on the blue i(nformation) icon or using the 'select here' option that appear below each video.

    Curriculum links for levels 3–4

    Aotearoa in space is designed for middle and upper primary school students. Curriculum links include:

    • nature of science – understanding about science and the ways in which scientists work together and provide evidence to support their ideas
    • Planet Earth and Beyond – interacting systems and effects on climate
    • Living World – ecology and how living things respond to environmental changes
    • social studies – understanding how people make decisions about access to and use of resources
    • nature of technology – understanding how technology influences society and environments and how technology is fit for purpose
    • technological practice – planning and outcome development
    • digital technology – computational thinking and designing and developing digital outcomes.

    The activities use familiar and local contexts to bring the science concepts to life. All Hub activities are in downloadable Word format – educators are encouraged to edit the materials to suit student needs.

    The science and mātauranga concepts in the articles and media are also suitable for secondary school students.

    Rights: The University of Waikato Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato

    Build a satellite

    Choose a mission and then successfully build and launch a satellite that can help gather the data required.

    Select here for additional information on using this interactive simulation.

    Teaching in context

    Aotearoa in space can form rich real-life contexts for developing students’ thinking, visioning and problem-solving skills and an array of key competencies.

    They allow ākonga to explore:

    • tātai aorangi and science knowledge
    • kaitiakitanga – including ethics, values, sustainability and conservation
    • opportunities – for innovation, curiosity, problem solving, tinkering and creating change
    • the nature of science and the science capabilities ‘Gathering and interpreting data’ and ‘Participating and contributing’ – using knowledge to bring about change.

    The interactive Build a satellite enables students to put their new knowledge and skills to work to build a fit-for-purpose satellite. This online activity and interpreting the data it collects mirrors what really happens in space industries around the globe!

    Resources to support learning

    The following resources showcase the growing space sector and the innovative ways technology is being used to address environmental and social issues in Aotearoa. Student activities bring the concepts to life and give learners a taste of what it is like to work in space.

    Related content

    Our recorded webinar gives a helpful overview of the resources that make up part of Aotearoa and space content.

    Revitalising Māori astronomy explores tātai arorangi.

    Rocket Lab was instrumental in putting Aotearoa in the global space spotlight. This introductory article collates the Hub’s rocket resources, with Peter Beck and Mark Rocket at the helm.

    Satellites have been part of our lives for decades. This introductory article collates the Hub’s satellite resources.

    There are a lot of resources in Aotearoa in space. The Hub team has created collections of resources that have a more narrow, targeted focus:

    Useful link

    Visit the New Zealand Space Agency website for more information about space policy, regulation and sector development.


    This resource has been produced with funding from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the support of the New Zealand Space Agency.

    Rights: Crown copyright

    Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the New Zealand Space Agency

    The New Zealand Space Agency, part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, is the lead government agency for space policy, regulation and sector development.

      Published 25 July 2022 Referencing Hub articles
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