Creating Opportunity through Diversity in the NZ Space Industry - Auckland

Learn about how a diverse workforce and local talent can grow the NZ space industry.

What's it all about?


The space industry is no longer confined to big governents and space agencies.  New Space brings about opportunity for everyone with different skills, culture and background to grow a sustainable space industry in New Zealand.   Listen to our multi-stakeholder panelists from government, academia, Maori communities, and student representatives discuss the opportunities and the challenges today and the need for a diverse workforce and talent pool from across New Zealand.

You can drop into this event at any time.


Wednesday 29 Jul
5:30pm - 7:00pm

Free event
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Babett Volgyesi

COO & co-founder, ExtraTerrestrial Power Ltd.

Babett is the COO & co-founder of Extraterrestrial Power. Complimenting the two space and solar science geeks - Peter the software engineer and Gavin the solar cell professor - with her business skills she is dealing with the operational management of this kiwi startup.
Originally from Hungary where she got her Masters in Economics & Marketing.
She started her career at Procter & Gamble as a planning manager and since then she tried many interesting fields like management consulting and marketing to always grow her skills and experiences.
Since moving to New Zealand in 2011 she has successfully built her career here and became one of the first locally trained Customer Experience Designers.
She decided to follow her passion while giving back to humanity at the same time, hence she is currently working as a Product, service and experience designer at Starship Foundation part time, as well as supporting her emerging startup in the other half of her work time.
In her free time she loves being with her family as well as learning and experimenting with new things and trying herself out in completely different fields and industries

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Heather Deacon

Business Development Manager, Xerra

Heather’s career stems from a passion for aerospace and a deep desire to create the very best value for customers. She prefers a partnered approach, working alongside customers to build solutions that really get to the heart of their issues.
Heather studied for her MSc. at Cranfield College of Aeronautics, including remote sensing and satellite imagery for the management of biological resources. After gaining her pilot’s licence, Heather built a career as an instructor, training military pilots in the UK before moving into operations management and business development. Heather emigrated to New Zealand in 2006 with her family where she managed Safe Air and Airbus NZ before taking up a role with NZ’s Innovation Agency, Callaghan Innovation.

In her spare time, Heather enjoys horse-riding vaquero style, e-biking and walking her dog with her partner.

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Dr Priyanka Dhopade

Lecturer, Dept of Mechanical Engineering, University of Auckland

Dr Priyanka Dhopade is a Lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Auckland. Her research expertise is in aerospace thermodynamics and fluid mechanics. At the University of Oxford, she developed computational models for cooling systems in modern jet engines, in collaboration with industry and academia. In 2017, she was chosen as one of the UK’s Top 50 Women in Engineering, and one of the top 72 candidates for the Canadian Space Agency’s astronaut recruitment program. She also leads various initiatives to promote diversity in STEM, including the Women in Engineering network at University of Oxford.

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Mahima Seth

Student, Auckland Programme for Space Systems

Mahima is a 3rd year Science student at the University of Auckland, majoring in physics and geophysics. Mahima served as an Avionics Technician in the Royal New Zealand Airforce for 6 years before coming to university. She has also done some casual work for Rocket Lab, also as an Avionics Technician and led the winning team of the 2018 Act In Space Hackathon. She was the presenter of the team's idea for "Autonomous Robotics system for in orbit repairs" at the International Space Festival in Tolouse, France. Mahima has done several presentations for schools around the country talking about space and astronauts and was a part of the 3rd APSS mission, which is geared towards outreach. She is excited about sharing her passion for space, becoming an astronaut and showcasing what New Zealand has to offer to the global space community.

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Yen-Kai Chen

Space Generationl Advisory Council - NZ Rep

Yen-Kai Chen is a Space Biologist at the University of Auckland, committee member of Space Medicine and Life Science at Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC), as well as the National Point of Contact for New Zealand at SGAC. He is also a volunteer scientist at NASA Genelab. His research is on the effects of spaceflight on bacterial biofilms, and the analysis of large spaceflight biological datasets. He spends his free time reading books written by public servants, merchants and academics. He is quite fascinated on alternative entries to the space sector. His mission is to provide biological value to space exploration.

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