On the 5th of September in Christchurch was New Zealand’s first Aerospace Summit. This event saw more than 300 attendees converge for a packed day discussing development in New Zealand’s aerospace sector. The summit was great for both the content and the opportunity to network. Both Hari and I found plenty of people we knew and it was excellent being able to update people on what we’ve been up to. We found our message of encouraging young people into STEM resonated with participants.
The programme included some fascinating updates from industry groups including Peter Beck and NASA’s Deputy Administrator. There is amazing work happening in New Zealand in the aerospace industry from Wisk’s autonomous air taxis to Rocket Lab’s ever increasing share of the launch market. The common measure was that our system needs to churn out more engineers, scientists, precision machinists and advanced materials experts. It was great to hear that our message we take around schools was bang on for what the sector needs.
The NZ Space Agency also spoke about regulation and the journey they have had to make New Zealand adaptable and open to advancement in the sector. An interesting panel was held by representatives of venture capital firms who talked about the kinds of things they invest in and gave some tips for any aerospace startups looking for funding. The was also an inspiring panel from Women in Space, on which Hari is a committee member. They talked about the challenges that women face getting into the aerospace sector.
Hon Stuart Nash – the Minister for Space (among other portfolios) and Hon Megan Woods announced extra government funding during the summit for research and development. The Summit was very well put together and very enjoyable. We even had some live entertainment from a David Bowie act.