Creating Opportunity through Diversity in the NZ Space Industry - Wellington

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.


Thursday 30 Jul
5:30pm - 7:00pm

Free event
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Emma Scarlet

Director of People, Xerra

Emma spent the first half of 2017 as the Establishment Manager for Xerra, coordinating the initial tasks required in the formation of this new organisation. She was then hired as the Xerra Executive Assistant, and has since moved into the role of Director of People.
For the past six years, Emma co-owned a retail business in Alexandra. During this time, she also worked part-time for over three years as personal assistant to Dr Greg Bodeker. Greg’s company, Bodeker Scientific, was the lead agency in the successful funding application that led to the formation of Xerra (Formerly CSST).

Prior to this, Emma worked for a number of years as an occupational therapist within the health and education sectors in New Zealand.

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Dr Pauline Harris

Chairperson, Society of Māori Astronomy Research and Traditions

I am from the tribes Rongomaiwahine, Ngāti Rakaipaka and Ngāti Kahungunu. I have a background in physics - completing my PhD and Master’s at Canterbury University, centred around gamma ray bursts, high-energy neutrino production and inflationary cosmology. I now focus on mātauranga Māori associated with Māori astronomy and traditional Māori calendars called Maramataka. I am extensively involved in the Māori community and am an active member of a number of trust boards. Currently, I am the Chairperson of the Society of Māori Astronomy Research and Traditions (SMART), there, I am dedicated to the collation and the revitalization of Māori astronomical star lore and Maramataka.

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Dr Avinash Rao

CEO, Argo Navis Aerospace

Avinash teamed up with Malcolm while completing a Bachelor’s degree in Mechatronics, and was key to starting the rocketry research programme at the University of Canterbury.

Avinash led the development of the guidance, navigation & control systems for Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle before taking up the role of Director of Mission Delivery until mid-2019. He has now moved into full-time work at Argo Navis Aerospace.

Avinash completed his PhD in rocket attitude control in 2014 and is an expert in dynamic systems modelling, embedded software, programming and project management.

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Daniel Wrench

President, NZ Student Space Association

Daniel Wrench is the President of the Wellington branch of the New Zealand Students' Space Association. After helping found the NZSSA in 2018, he now oversees the organisation's mission to empower Kiwi students passionate about space to pursue their dreams. A life-long space nut, Daniel hopes to use his degree from Victoria University of Wellington in Geology and Statistics to contribute to the international mission of returning humans to the moon in the 2020s.

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Julia Rothman

Development Manager, NZ Defence Force

Julia Rothman is a 2 decade veteran of designing and launching space systems for the US Government. Julia helped successfully launch the satellites once known as President Reagan’s Star Wars. While working as the Missile Defence Agency’s first Space Flight Test Engineer she was an integral part of demonstrating how a missile could be disabled by a laser beam. One of her proudest accomplishments was to fund the development of new weather models and an Antarctic receiver site doubling the advance warning time for Category 5 hurricanes after Hurricane Katrina. By the time Hurricane Sandy hit the East coast of the US residents had 6 days advance warning. Julia has spent the last 5 years designing a system tracking everything in orbit to include a lot of space junk. During her time overseas Julia became aware of small industries and countries having a significant impact in the space industry and started collecting examples of ways NZ could succeed in the space industry.

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