A Subsidiary of the New Zealand Rocketry Association
We’re a group of Cantabrians with a keen interest in building and launching low-power rockets.
Supporting Aerospace and STEM in the community and fostering a sense of wonderment in technology in our youth, and adding to the pipeline of the rapidly growing domestic aerospace industry. We aim to facilitate interested members into high-power rocketry and aerospace career pathways, and we've got a wealth of knowledge between our founding members and associations with local industry.
Any member of the public is welcome along to our launches and workshops. Feel free to hit us up using the contact form or via email or Facebook and we'd be happy to show you the ups and downs of low-power rocketry.
Model Rocketry in Christchurch
Christchurch has a strong history of Rocketry, it was the first city in New Zealand to have an official Model Rocketry Association and importer.
Norm Sisson (from then Model Boat Supplies) with the assistance of Gerry Munden (Aerospace Education) began importing model rockets and motors from the U.S during the mid 90’s.
They launched rockets for a number of years from Christchurch, including public events from South Hagley Park which drew crowds in the hundreds, along with launching rockets as part of the jet-sprint competitions.
Fast forward to 2019 and the Christchurch Rocketeers were founded as a response to the growing interest In Canterbury around model rocketry. We’ve been successfully launching monthly (apart from during level 3 and 4 lockdowns) from Nunweek Park in Christchurch.
These launches have been supported well by the local community, with interest from schools and the public alike.
Our close ties with the University of Canterbury Aerospace club allows us to provide a real and visible pathway for kids and adults looking at getting into the aerospace industry.
As of September 2020 we teamed up with UCA to offer a “Hot-Rocket” class to Cashmere Highschool. We also started rocket building workshops at Tūranga Library in association with their Learning Centre team.
Simon Willowby-Martin has also been acting as an EngineeringNZ “Wonder Project Ambassador” providing STEM lessons through water rocket workshops, encouraging iterative design from first principles.
With the introduction of the Canterbury Aerospace Sector Plan and the push for an aerospace “Hub”, we believe our Rocketry group is well placed to help in this push for the region. We have successfully integrated ourselves into the Christchurch Aerospace community with many contacts in the industry and providing talks at Aerospace Christchurch meetups.
Aim of Our Workshops and Outreach Programs
During 2020 we were approached by the Tūranga Library Learning Centre to trial free community rocket building workshops, making use of their laser cutter, 3D printer, vacuum former and vinyl printer. These resources enabled in-house production of kitsets, offering a drastic cost reduction and allowing us to make these available to anyone, with the minimal overhead generously supported by the library.
These workshops were trialed during World Space Week and turned out to be quite popular! With minimal advertising we drew a number of families and teenagers from all over Christchurch to build flight-worthy and reusable model rockets.
The Christchurch Rocketeers have since been approached by two high schools to bring workshops to them as part of their physics curricula.
The aim of the build workshops is to promote STEM based learning and hobbies in Otautahi Christchurch, and create pathways into the Canterbury Aerospace sector to support the growth of the sector in this region.
These workshops allow us to explore iterative design processes, Newton's laws of motion, thrust/drag principles, aerodynamics, health and safety, and visual design.
Plans for the future would extend this further, focussing our efforts on STEM-based rocketry lessons and launches at low-decile and girls only schools, breaking down barriers to a more equitable STEM field at tertiary and industry levels.
Model Rocketry has the unique quality of being engaging to almost all who participate, and draws on the excitement of current industry efforts such as at Rocket Lab, Dawn Aerospace, NASA's Artemis missions and the many other space programs around the world.