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Ascending into Space: New Zealand's Role as a Space-Faring Nation

1–3 July 2022

The space industry in New Zealand has grown significantly over the few past years. Unlike its Five Eyes partners that have developed their respective space programmes upon the foundations military research and design within the cold war context, New Zealand's space industry lays within a foundation of the rapid development of commercial space activities. This presents both opportunities and challenges. Currently, New Zealand sits at an important juncture and has the potential to become a global leader as a premier nation-state for Low Earth Orbit activities given both its regulatory infrastructure and unique positioning on the globe. However, it also means that, now more than ever, New Zealand must turn to its Five Eyes partners for security, especially when shaping its foreign policy, and take-stock of the lessons learned from its partners experiences as it to mould its space policy and framework.

To a large extent, this means that New Zealand's space posture needs to account for commercial (regulatory and technological), national (environmental and cultural), and security (national and international) considerations.

This year's Foreign Policy School considers the following key themes:

  • New Zealand commercial, defence, security, and regulatory, postures concerning space activities and development
  • International relations between New Zealand and other space-faring nations
  • Challenges and opportunities that technological developments, such as cyber security over space assets, may pose
  • Collaborative scientific developments that consider environmental impacts from space activities and the maintenance of cultural heritage

Conference Director

Dr Maria A Pozza


  • Hon Nanaia Mahuta, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • Mr James Powell, Co-founder, CFO and Spaceplane Chief Engineer, Dawn Aerospace
  • Mr Iain Cossar, General Manager, Science & Innovation, New Zealand Space Agency
  • Professor Dale Stephens, Director – Adelaide Research Unit on Military Law and Ethics, Law School, The University of Adelaide
  • Professor Fabio Tronchetti, Co-Director, Institute of Space Law and Strategy, Beihang University, Beijing China (via Zoom)
  • Professor K. R. Sridhara Murthi, Hon. Director, International Institute of Space Law and Director, Jain University, India (via Zoom)
  • Ms Dovilé Matuleviciute, Space, Legal & Public Affairs, Luxembourg Space Agency (via Zoom)
  • Mr Chris Kunstadter, Head of Space Insurance, AON
  • Ms Toni Hoeta and Mr Andrew Mills, Ngāti Rangi, Te Atihaunui-ā-papa-rangi, Ngāti Porou, Te Atiawa, Otago Museum
  • Ms Victoria Samson, Washington Office – Director, Secure World Foundation, United States (via Zoom)
  • Dr Nicholas Rattenbury, Department of Physics, University of Auckland
  • Adjunct Professor Ricky Lee, University of Notre Dame, Australia
  • Mr Robin McNeill, Chief Executive Officer, SpaceOps New Zealand
  • Ms Ashely Tokic and Mr Mark Saavedra, US Embassy
  • Ms Val Sim and Mr Ilija Tolich, New Zealand Space Agency, Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment
  • Mr Michael Gaskin, Senior Policy Officer, International Security and Disarmament Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • Emeritus Professor of Astronomy John Hearnshaw, University of Canterbury
  • Professor Craig Roger, Department of Physics, University of Otago
  • Professor Joerg Frauendiener, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Otago


Programme – 56th Otago Foreign Policy School (PDF)

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