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Monday 13 June 2022 1:14pm

As New Zealand takes its place as a space-faring nation, this year's Otago Foreign Policy School will tackle the regulatory, scientific, cultural, and security aspects the nation must consider when moulding its space policy and framework.

Maria Pozza image
Maria Pozza

School Director, Dr Maria Pozza, who is also the Director and Principal Lawyer of specialist space law firm Gravity Lawyers, says an increasing amount of activity is happening in space and New Zealand has the potential to become a global leader for low Earth orbit activities.

“The space industry in New Zealand has grown momentously over the few past years and, globally, its importance is increasing with the growing commercialisation of activities,” she says.

“While some nations have developed their respective space programmes on military research and design, New Zealand's space industry lays within a foundation of commercial space activities, which presents both opportunities and challenges.

“The country sits at an important juncture, given both its regulatory infrastructure and unique positioning on the globe. However, this means that, now more than ever, New Zealand must work to collaborate with its partners for security, and this is especially true when shaping its own foreign policy.”

Along with New Zealand's own space programme, Dr Pozza identifies space debris as an increasingly important issue that warrants increased international concern. She further indicates that commercial human space exploration is on the rise, more space agencies are being set up, and more nations are now spending time in developing their domestic space laws.

The 56th Otago Foreign Policy School will include talks on cyber security in outer space, space tourism, culture and the stars, international law, and other nation's space programmes.

Each of the speakers are experts in their fields, but Dr Pozza is particularly interested in hearing from Professor Dale Stephens (Director of the University of Adelaide's Research Unit on Military Law and Ethics), Dovilé Matuleviciute (Luxembourg Space Agency), Emeritus Professor of Astronomy John Hearnshaw (University of Canterbury), Toni Hoeta (Otago Museum), and James Powell (Dawn Aerospace).

There will be more than 17 presentations during the School with speakers considering four key themes:

  • New Zealand's commercial, defence, security, and regulatory stances 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.

“The School offers opportunities for attendees to expose themselves to a range of ideas and concepts across different disciplines,” Dr Pozza says.

Registrations are now open for the event:

Otago Foreign Policy School 2022: Ascending into Space: New Zealand's Role as a Space-Faring Nation

1-3 July 2022, St Margaret's College, University of Otago

For more information please contact:

Ellie Rowley
Communications Adviser
University of Otago
Mob +64 21 278 8200

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