The future Is ... Up There
With clear airways, proximity to international air and sea ports, and access to infrastructure and talent, Ōtautahi Christchurch is a hub for aerospace and future transport innovation.
A mix of start-ups and entrepreneur-driven companies are fuelling the transition from fossils to renewable, improving the way we move, and using data to create a better future.
Watch the highlights from New Zealand’s first ever Aerospace Summit held right here in Ōtautahi Christchurch.
Congratulations to the winner of the Christchurch Aerospace Challenge 2022
Aerospace Opportunities Take Off In Christchurch
Christchurch Aerospace Challenge Winner Announced
Christchurch - an aerospace hub
With a current global value of $360 billion, estimated to increase to $2.7 trillion by 2050, the aerospace and future transport space is bright. New technologies are significantly lowering barriers to entry, while digital transformation and IoT-fuelled demand for space and satellite services is rising.
Canterbury has the perfect geography and airspace for testing innovative aircraft and autonomous solution prototypes, and is home to the best in engineering, tech and precision component manufacturing. The economic impact here is already estimated to be between $100m and $1bn.
New Zealand’s space economy alone was valued at $1.69 billion in the 2018/9 financial year, employing 12,000 people. Christchurch was the first region to develop an aerospace sector plan, tapping into New Zealand’s prime spot as number one of eleven launch-capable nations.
The talent is here too, with nearly a third of national aerospace engineering graduates, and nearly a quarter of engineering, coming from Canterbury universities.
Organisations fuelling Aerospace and Future Transport
Dawn Aerospace’s mission is to enable the next generation of space users by providing dramatically more scalable and sustainable ways to access and move around in space. The company is a leading supplier of turnkey green propulsion systems for NanoSat, MicroSat, ESPA, and ESPA Grande-class satellites and is developing suborbital and orbital rocket-powered planes that operate much like a fleet of aircraft, taking off and landing horizontally at airports.
Kea Aerospace are developing an unmanned high-altitude solar aircraft, capable of capturing high-quality and cost effected image data. Once complete, their fixed-wing aircraft would be the largest aircraft of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.
Tāwhaki Joint Venture
Tāwhaki is a commercial joint venture between the Crown and mana whenua for Kaitorete – Te Taumutu Rūnanga and Wairewa Rūnanga. Tāwhaki owns 1,000 hectares of land at Kaitorete (a short 50 minute drive from the Christchurch International Airport) and has a dual kaupapa of both healing and rejuvenating the unique whenua at Kaitorete and advancing Aotearoa’s aerospace industry.
Tāwhaki are developing aerospace and R&D facilities (which includes Aotearoa’s first Space Port), and companies such as Kea Aerospace and Swoop Aero are already making use of the facilities and flying from Kaitorete.
Skybase’s innovative autonomous solutions aim to minimise human error from aviation. Working predominantly in the Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) field, Skybase sees massive potential in the unmanned aviation sector – from safer aerial mapping to airborne surveillance services. They see Canterbury as an unrivalled testing ground for their ventures.
Wisk is a self-flying, electric aircraft that rises like a helicopter and flies like a plane. Pioneering an entirely new way to fly, Wisk has testing and operations based in Canterbury, with certification work under way to bring the first air taxi service to market in NZ. Wisk is the first step towards everyday flight.
Orbica specialises in using geospatial data to create solutions and products to make sense of information. Their expert team are pioneering geospatial artificial intelligence, and recently set up an office in Germany after winning a German drone analytics challenge.
Fabrum undertakes research and development through to manufacture and commercialisation of niche components, cryogenic systems and industrial composite solutions . Fabrum’s international aviation and aerospace development projects are shifting the transition from aviation fuel to liquid hydrogen by creating total end to end solutions for hydrogen liquefiers through to on board fuel tanks.
Mark Rocket, Kea Aerospace
Our city is an ideal technology test bed for atmospheric and terrestrial projects. Christchurch's aerospace ecosystem is building momentum and projects are starting to flourish. Christchurch is a gateway to the Antarctic and soon will be a gateway to space.
Innovation ecosystem support
Aerospace Christchurch promotes the interests of the Christchurch and Canterbury aerospace community including aviation, space flight, rocketry, manufacturing, engineering, geospatial mapping, data analytics, education, training, and services. The group is open to all interested individuals and organisations wanting to grow the economic wealth and aerospace capability of Christchurch.
Christchurch-based SpaceBase is focused on democratising space for everyone by co-creating a global space ecosystem to serve entrepreneurs in the space industry. They provide access to training, networking and investment opportunities, as well as technical services.
University of Canterbury student-led club, rocket design and launching competitions, industry speakers
Access to talent: Graduate flows
Canterbury tertiary institutions excel in the following Aerospace and Future Transport-related programmes, with the following graduate flows as a percentage of national:
- Science – Mathematics 14%
- Networking and Cloud computing 18%
- Science – Chemistry 18%
- Mechanical Engineering 19%
- Manufacturing Engineering 21%
- Science - Earth Science 23%
- Science – Physics 24%
- Engineering and Related Technologies not elsewhere classified 34%
- Chemical Engineering 37%
Connect With Us
ChristchurchNZ’s business and investment team are a knowledgeable mix of professional, strategic thinkers with diverse skill sets. They love identifying opportunities and building relationships to make positive, impactful outcomes for both stakeholders and the city of Ōtautahi.
Simon led start-up businesses in Australia for 15 years, before returning to Christchurch with his young family to support economic development and the growth of the start-up ecosystem in the region. He loves having supported the growth of the ecosystem, is a strategic leader who is passionate about impact and the ability of tech start-ups to support our future regional wellbeing.
Emma had been working in the non-profit sector for 10 years before joining ChristchucrhNZ, primarily focused on disability and health innovation. A career highlight was working on a multi-million dollar global challenge run with Toyota, designed to revolutionise mobility devices for people with lower limb paralysis. Emma has always loved supporting innovators, especially those that help people, so her ChristchurchNZ role ticks all right the boxes.