Welcome to Milky-Way.Kiwi

There’s a 2 billion dollar-valued space industry right now in New Zealand. Space, the final frontier, is finally here. We are very excited to be part of this new era. 

Milky-Way.Kiwi started in 2009 when Haritina created New Zealand’s first astrophotography magazine, Milky Way Kiwi.

It became an astronomy and space blog for a while and was reinvented in 2017 when Samuel joined the team. Since then, we have been building a New Zealand cosmic source of astronomy news, space exploration and stargazing, celebrating space for Kiwis. #yeswespace. 

In 2022, we decided to go full-time and give space science communication 100% of our efforts. Along the way, we created two business activities, www.star-safari.nz, where we stargaze from the world’s 21st Dark Sky Reserve in Wairarapa and www.spacewardbound.nz , our space education for schools. 

We take a Kiwi perspective on the world news, look for “what’s in it for New Zealand”, and use our knowledge and expertise to bring space closer to the public here in the country with the most beautiful night sky in the world (when is not raining).

Some things that keep us up at night (except for stargazing) are the following questions: Are we alone? What is life? What is the future of humankind? When are we going to Mars? 

“Space exploration is not about rockets, abstract physics or growing plants on the Moon. It is about the people who are interested in all these subjects, about curiosity and new frontiers.”

- Milky-Way.Kiwi

If we can, you can too

We want to let people know that every single one of us can make a difference.

Here are three things that you can do right now to start making a difference:

Tell everyone that we are literally made of stardust. 

Turn off the light when you not using it to protect the environment from light pollution. 

Look up and appreciate the Universe.

Milky-Way.Kiwi Ltd is an innovator in space science communication, space sciences education and knowledge tourism, striving to create a “Stargate to the Universe” from the heart of the Wairarapa’s Dark Sky Reserve.

Central to our mission is Star Safari, a stargazing experience unique in New Zealand. We leverage extensive expertise in space sciences and space sciences communication and top-quality equipment, including two large, high-quality optical telescopes and an array of additional telescopes, displays and other high-quality experiences offering exceptional glimpses into the cosmos. This unique offering, easily accessible from Wellington, has already welcomed 1200 visitors in the past year.

Complementing Star Safari, the Wairarapa Space Science Centre (WSSC) demonstrated our commitment to bringing space science to the community. This pop-up centre served as a powerful proof of concept, attracting 3300 visitors in just 45 days (December 2022 to February 2023) and inspiring our vision for a permanent space science centre in Carterton.

Our innovations extend beyond clear skies. Our cloudy-sky experience employs cutting-edge technology, including the latest universe-display software, Virtual Reality headsets, and Augmented Reality, ensuring cosmic exploration continues, irrespective of the weather.

Moreover, we champion community engagement and education. Our educational programme Spaceward Bound New Zealand, serves schools and local communities, while our active participation in events like the Greytown Christmas Festival brings space science directly to the public.

Milky-Way.Kiwi Ltd is more than just a business. As we create our stargate to the Universe from the heart of Wairarapa, we inspire our community and visitors alike to see New Zealand’s unique and amazing dark sky.

Our proudest accomplishment over the past 12 months was establishing and operating the pop-up proof of concept Wairarapa Space Science Centre (WSSC) during the summer school holidays 2023. This innovative space science communication hub in the historic Carterton Post Office delivered 45 days of immersive, knowledge-rich experiences to over 3,300 visitors across the region and beyond. The centre uniquely positioned Wairarapa as a focal point for astrotourism, positively impacting local businesses and accommodation providers.

A vital aspect of the WSSC was its contribution to sustainable development through knowledge tourism. This novel approach, rare in New Zealand, focused on providing experiential learning from scientists and science communicators, encouraging visitors to participate in citizen science projects like Globe at Night. Our goal was to cater to a growing demographic of environmentally conscious visitors seeking eco-friendly, learning-oriented travel experiences.

The WSSC was not just a source of entertainment but a tool for creating awareness of Earth’s unique, precious dark sky and the critical role of New Zealand in astrobiological research. By emphasising the importance of dark sky preservation, we strive to inspire action against light pollution, ensuring future generations can still appreciate the celestial view.

The WSSC has left an enduring legacy, boosting Wairarapa’s profile as a destination for learning, particularly around space science. This bolsters domestic tourism, enhances resilience against visitor number shocks, and promotes environmentally conscious behaviour. With its technology showcases and high-quality space science communication, the WSSC represents a significant step forward for astrotourism and knowledge tourism in New Zealand.

Finalists in the Wairarapa Business Awards 2022

Finalists in the Gold Awards 2023. 

Milky-Way.Kiwi Ltd actively supports the community through various initiatives directly or through programmes delivered through our charitable trust, the New Zealand Astrobiology Network. Our most significant contribution in the past year was the Wairarapa Space Science Centre, where we subsidised entry fees and created displays for enriching learning experiences. We also offered the free ‘Look After Our Night Sky’ exhibition at the Science Centre and the Carterton Events Centre. Additionally, we’ve engaged with local schools, festivals, and career seminars and participated in STEM Festivals across the country, taking science education beyond our local community to nationwide audiences. 

Our business is significantly contributing to regional growth by drawing visitors into the Wellington Region and inspiring local Wellingtonians to explore the Wairarapa. We’re fostering a broader appreciation of our unique environment, the wondrous dark sky, and New Zealand’s critical astrobiological role, thereby increasing tourism and local commerce.

We continuously raise awareness about preserving our precious dark skies and our planet, the only known source of life. We shine a light on the detrimental effects of light pollution, which has clouded the views that our ancestors enjoyed. Through our efforts, we aim to protect this irreplaceable resource for future generations of residents and visitors.

Our promotion of knowledge tourism positions Wairarapa as an epicentre for learning, offering a compelling alternative or complement to traditional wine and food-based tourism.

Emphasising the value of our dark sky, conveniently close to Wellington, Palmerston North, and Napier enhances domestic tourism flow and strengthens our resilience to visitor number fluctuations.

Moreover, sharing knowledge about night sky preservation doesn’t just educate—it inspires action. We encourage visitors to consider the environmental impacts of light pollution, contributing to wider efforts to combat climate change. This focus on sustainable tourism helps to create resilient, environmentally aware communities.

Our accreditation as a Dark Sky Reserve puts Wairarapa on the astrotourism map. By maintaining a high-quality standard of space science communication, we set ourselves apart and ensure Wairarapa is a leader in astrotourism. This promotes business growth and diversification, providing a vibrant future for the region. 

Our proudest accomplishment, and what motivates us daily, is providing unique experiences that foster awe and curiosity. We communicate the singular beauty of our Earth through the lens of astrobiology and inspire our visitors to envision the future of humankind. Our passion is lighting the spark of interest in STEM subjects for the next generation, utilising the compelling domain of space sciences. We find immense joy and satisfaction in cultivating curiosity, nurturing a thirst for knowledge, and driving scientific discovery. It is the remarkable potential of every visitor’s learning journey that keeps us eager for each new day.

Our next major goal is establishing the largest public-viewing telescope in New Zealand (currently under construction), boasting an impressive 0.75m aperture. We plan to enhance Star Safari’s infrastructure with additional telescopes, a meteor camera, a dark sky meter, and a radio telescope. We aim to grow our business to the point where we can hire dedicated staff and create a national learning hub for space and astronomy science communicators. Moreover, we aspire to establish a permanent Wairarapa Space Science Centre, envisaging it as a cornerstone in Wairarapa’s domestic tourism sector, enriching the region’s educational and experiential offerings.

Our team

From the Southern Hemisphere, Haritina Mogoșanu and Samuel  Leske write about all things space. Peter Detterline is our Northern Hemisphere correspondent, keeping an eye on the heavens there.




Guest writers

We are happy to have people write for us. If you are interested, drop us a line.

Holly McClellan – Guest writer

Kia ora! My name is Holly McClelland. I have loved Astronomy Since I was young and love to share my interest and passion for Astronomy with people. This has led me to studying at the University of Canterbury, being an astronomy guide and observing on research telescopes.