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Kibo Utilization Office for Asia (KUOA)

Kibo-ABC Member country News: New Zealand's Latest Approaches to Kibo Utilization

Last Updated: March 29, 2019

On the 8th of March, JAXA's KUOA office staff had the opportunity to discuss with the institutes and space agencies in New Zealand for coordination of future collaborations for Kibo Utilization in the Asia Pacific region.

They both appreciated the benefits and potential outcomes to the countries from Kibo-ABC's major activities, namely SSAF (Space Seeds for Asian Future), Asian Try Zero-G, and Kibo-Robot Programming Challenge.

KiwiSpace Foundation together with the New Zealand Astrobiology Network invited the KUOA staff to Carter Observatory in Wellington, New Zealand. Carter Observatory, now rebranded Space Place is the former National Astronomical Observatory of New Zealand, currently a dedicated space-education centre with a planetarium and two historic telescopes. Space Place is currently the only astronomy education centre in New Zealand that incorporates ancient Maori star knowledge and modern Matauranga Maori (Maori ways of knowledge transfer).

KiwiSpace Foundation has been the point of contact of New Zealand for the Kibo-ABC initiative since 2012, and SSAF 2013 was a big success for the students of New Zealand. New Zealand established its own space agency in 2016, the New Zealand Space Agency, which is part of the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Enterprise. The NZSA operates from Wellington. The international affairs office of the agency was very positive in participating in Kibo-ABC activities; details will be discussed with KiwiSpace Foundation.

The role of the KiwiSpace Foundation is on the verge of changing its destination. New Zealand's space education projects will be handed over to a new organization, New Zealand Astrobiology Network which organizes educational projects and connects various areas of research in New Zealand. They are keen to participate in the projects of Kibo-ABC.


Ms.Haritina Mogoșanu, co-founder of KiwiSpace Foundation and of the New Zealand Astrobiology Network says:

We are very honoured to have hosted the Japanese delegation in Wellington in March 2019. Kiwispace Foundation has had a committed relationship of collaboration with JAXA - Kibo ABC since our beginning in 2012 and together we have brought New Zealand educational efforts closer to space. We have been very fortunate that from this collaboration our students have benefited enormously not only in terms of science but also in terms of inspiration. The Japanese Space Agency has always been very supportive of New Zealand growth in space education. The support was substantial, engaging and involving New Zealand in projects that have been exceptionally well thought and supported on the field with materials, ideas, and expertise. The Japanese Space Agency has made time to travel to New Zealand and understand the real needs and subsequently work with us to create tailor-made programmes that benefit both countries.

This time around we discussed our willingness to continue the work and extend it further to our networks of schools and subject matter experts, engaging on a new level with schools and educators. New Zealand space environment had grown and there is now more capacity to uptake projects of this kind, which are advancing space sciences in new and innovative ways, in the same time collaborating with institutions that are traditional here, such as the plant growing industry, for which New Zealand is well known.

We are very fortunate to have a New Zealand Space Agency, which is now the leading force in terms of national space strategies and we are committed to support their efforts to implement space education and outreach country-wide.

Figure 1. Ms.Haritina Mogoșanu (Credit: JAXA)

Figure 2. Meeting at Carter Observatory (Credit: JAXA)

Figure 3. Group photo at Space Place (Credit: JAXA)

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