TechWeek 2020: Creating Opportunity through Diversity in the NZ Space Industry

Posted by admin on August 1, 2020

Learn about how a diverse workforce and local talent can grow the NZ space industry.  Listen to our multi-stakeholder panelists from government, academia, Maori communities, and student representatives discuss the opportunities and the challengses of leveraging diversity in the space industry.


Joshua Rea, Business Development, Dawn Aerospace

Joshua Rea is responsible for business development at Dawn Aerospace and was the first non-engineer hired by the company. After spending nearly a decade expanding a hundred million dollar ad tech company into new global markets, Josh knows how to listen and how to provide solutions that solve problems. Once told to surround himself with smart people, Josh took this to the extreme, surrounding himself only with rocket scientists. Recognising that space technology was stuck in an upward spiral of cost, waste and toxicity; that was unscalable and unsustainable, Josh joined Dawn in a bid to change this by helping bring the company’s reusable spaceplane and sustainable propulsion products to market. Josh spends his spare time as a deep-sea exploration diver, living life on Earth as closely as one can to an astronaut’s.

Amy Fletcher, Associate Professor, University of Canterbury

Amy Fletcher is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Canterbury and a professional tech-futurist. Her areas of research and teaching expertise include science and technology policy, with a current emphasis on space sovereignty, commercialisation, and public-private partnerships. She also lectures and gives public talks on contemporary United States politics and is a co-investigator, with Dr. Jeremy Moses and Dr. Geoff Ford, on a Marsden-funded research project that investigates the global debate on the use and regulation of lethal autonomous weapons. She has lived in New Zealand since the early 2000s, but was born in Huntsville, Alabama, as her Dad was then a young engineer working on the Apollo Project.

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.

Kevin Smith Hinge, Student, Policy and Governance, University of Canterbury

I am a Master of Policy and Governance student at the University of Canterbury, working on a project with Associate Professor Amy Fletcher as my supervisor. The research is based on Producing A Knowledge-Based Economy Through Space Industry: A Case of Vanuatu. I am interested in finding out whether Vanuatu could be used as a space hub for space-related startups. I hold a Master of Education (Deakin University) Bachelor of Arts (UC) and a Diploma in Secondary Education (Anglophone) (Vanuatu Institute of Teacher Education). My research interests are in the public debate of Academic Capitalism, Social Justice and Education, and Innovation, Space Industry and the Knowledge Economy.


Emeline Paat-Dahlstrom, Co-Founder, SpaceBase

Emeline is the Co-Founder of SpaceBase and an Edmund Hillary Fellow with three decades working in the private space industry in the U.S. She has worked, consulted and mentored for space startups in NZ and abroad. Emeline is author of the book Realizing Tomorrow: The Path to Private Spaceflight.

Also similar moderated Panels for Auckland and Wellington can be found here: