Space hackathon reimagines tech

Team "Underage" collects second prize from Science Minister, the Hon. Megan Woods. Photo: CSST.

The ActInSpace NZ competition to reimagine existing space technology and data into new applications was deemed a tremendous success by organisers, Centre for Space Science Technology (CSST). Nine teams made up of 42 people presented new space technology ideas after 24 hours of furious coding, planning, and pitching.

First place in the New Zealand competition went to team “Te Mārama”, whose startup idea will reduce the amount of repairs that humans do in space by cost effectively using VR to control repair robots remotely. Te Mārama is made of five team members – Mahima Seth (Auckland), Ben Tairea (Wellington), Maddy King (Wellington), Zeus Engineer (Christchurch) and Jonah Belk (Dunedin).

The team will now be going on to ToulouseFrance to compete in the international ActInSpace finals.

The surprise runner-ups were a team of five secondary school students (15-16 year olds) from Dunstan High School in Alexandra. Competing against teams riddled with PhD candidates, team “Underage” pitched an augmented reality app that would allow artists a place to connect to commercial opportunities while reducing graffiti in the real world by allowing people to graffiti real-life buildings in the digital world.

The judges were so impressed by the entry that the Friday following the competition, at a special school assembly, the New Zealand Space Agency offered the young team a trip to the Toulouse Space Show in France in just two weeks time. While they won’t be competing in the ActInSpace finals, they'll still be pitching their idea to the biggest names in the sector, and hoping to meet coders and investors.

ActInSpace NZ was organised by CSST in partnership with the New Zealand Space Agency and ChristchurchNZ, with support from the French Embassy in New Zealand.

In other news from CSST, in June, Director of Research Dr Delwyn Moller was the recipient of a Kea World Class New Zealand (WCNZ) Award. Dr Moller is being recognised for her ground-breaking contribution to the development of state-of-the-art earth science technology systems, including developing high-resolution radar imaging technology to enable new areas of scientific discovery, and an extensive contribution to our understanding of climate change via ongoing study of ice sheets and glaciers.

For more information about ActInSpace or Dr Moller’s Kea World Class New Zealand (WCNZ) Award please see:


Visit to find out more about the international competition.

Kea World Class New Zealand (WCNZ) Award

Date posted: 15 June 2018

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