From Wairoa to 'Space Coast Aotearoa'

Enthusiasm for space venture at Mahia to bring positive tourism ventures into Gisborne's orbit.

Enthusiasm for space venture at Mahia to bring positive tourism ventures into Gisborne's orbit.

HISTORIC MOMENT: Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket blasted off from Mahia in May, the first of the company's three planned test flights. Picture supplied

ENTHUSIASM for space tourism between Wairoa and Mahia, or ‘Space Coast Aotearoa’ as the area can now also be called, could also have benefits for a new Gisborne-based rail-bike tourism venture, the Mayor of Wairoa says.

Just a week after aerospace company Rocket Lab sent its first test rocket into space from its private launch complex at Mahia, the Wairoa District Council has trademarked a series of space-related phrases to boost tourism, including the tag-line ‘Earth Base One’, for the town’s airport.

Wairoa District Council chief executive Fergus Power confirmed the council had trademarked space-related phrases that would “add to the uniqueness” of tourism visitor experiences to Te Wairoa.

“These include ‘Space Coast New Zealand’, ‘Space Coast Aotearoa’ (both applying to that stretch of coastline between Whakamahia and the southern approaches to Mahia, from which space launches can be viewed), 'Gateway to the Galaxy' (Wairoa), and 'Earth Base One' (Wairoa Airport)," Mr Power said.

“Once commercial launches commence after the three test launches, we anticipate growing interest in New Zealand’s space launch programme.”

Wairoa Mayor Craig Little told The Gisborne Herald that attracting new resources and investment to the district was important to stimulate economic growth, adding that both domestic and overseas investors were already recognising the region’s potential through operations like Rocket Lab.

“Through its operations at Mahia, Rocket Lab is empowering our community and potential for economic growth," Mr Little said.

Tourism opportunities

"We will start seeing great tourism opportunities from these operations. Resources invested in our community will range from financial capital from external investors looking for opportunities, to businesses seeking to capitalise on the natural and competitive advantages Wairoa has to offer, through to people attracted by the lifestyle and opportunities offered to their families.

“Districts between Napier and Rotorua have the ‘Thermal Highway’, just like the Bay of Plenty, East Coast and Hawke’s Bay have the ‘Pacific Coast Highway’. Space Coast is ours, and it covers the area from Whakamahia Beach in Wairoa to the Mahia Peninsula.”

Mr Little said the Wairoa District Council had also made a further commitment to support Geoff Main’s “exciting tourism opportunity”, Railbike Adventures, which would involve Railbike Adventures operating a cycle route on top of the existing rail tracks between Wairoa and Gisborne.

Mr Little said the project offered numerous tourism and economic opportunities for local and external business operators who had the potential to offer their products and services to people who take part in these activities.

Railbike Adventures managing director Geoff Main said the timing of both the rail-bike venture and Rocket Lab’s successful launch represented a “perfect aligning of the stars” for Wairoa.

“There are so many positive aspects to the activities of Rocket Lab and Railbike Adventures that will bring both national and international recognition along with prosperity to the Wairoa region,” Mr Main said.

“Both ventures are innovative leaders in their respective fields and to that end are guaranteed an enthusiastic interest from many thousands of people per annum. These people represent thousands of visitor nights to Wairoa and surrounds and millions in the associated spending that goes with those visitors.

“The rolling momentum that these ventures generate will fuel many add-on experiences for local operators to capture, an aspect of our activity that we have been extremely excited about from our outset.”

Mr Main said Railbike Adventures began its quest to bring its “world first” tourism venture to fruition on the Napier to Gisborne rail line in June 2010 before it was awarded the right to use the Wairoa to Gisborne section in March.


ENTHUSIASM for space tourism between Wairoa and Mahia, or ‘Space Coast Aotearoa’ as the area can now also be called, could also have benefits for a new Gisborne-based rail-bike tourism venture, the Mayor of Wairoa says.

Just a week after aerospace company Rocket Lab sent its first test rocket into space from its private launch complex at Mahia, the Wairoa District Council has trademarked a series of space-related phrases to boost tourism, including the tag-line ‘Earth Base One’, for the town’s airport.

Wairoa District Council chief executive Fergus Power confirmed the council had trademarked space-related phrases that would “add to the uniqueness” of tourism visitor experiences to Te Wairoa.

“These include ‘Space Coast New Zealand’, ‘Space Coast Aotearoa’ (both applying to that stretch of coastline between Whakamahia and the southern approaches to Mahia, from which space launches can be viewed), 'Gateway to the Galaxy' (Wairoa), and 'Earth Base One' (Wairoa Airport)," Mr Power said.

“Once commercial launches commence after the three test launches, we anticipate growing interest in New Zealand’s space launch programme.”

Wairoa Mayor Craig Little told The Gisborne Herald that attracting new resources and investment to the district was important to stimulate economic growth, adding that both domestic and overseas investors were already recognising the region’s potential through operations like Rocket Lab.

“Through its operations at Mahia, Rocket Lab is empowering our community and potential for economic growth," Mr Little said.

Tourism opportunities

"We will start seeing great tourism opportunities from these operations. Resources invested in our community will range from financial capital from external investors looking for opportunities, to businesses seeking to capitalise on the natural and competitive advantages Wairoa has to offer, through to people attracted by the lifestyle and opportunities offered to their families.

“Districts between Napier and Rotorua have the ‘Thermal Highway’, just like the Bay of Plenty, East Coast and Hawke’s Bay have the ‘Pacific Coast Highway’. Space Coast is ours, and it covers the area from Whakamahia Beach in Wairoa to the Mahia Peninsula.”

Mr Little said the Wairoa District Council had also made a further commitment to support Geoff Main’s “exciting tourism opportunity”, Railbike Adventures, which would involve Railbike Adventures operating a cycle route on top of the existing rail tracks between Wairoa and Gisborne.

Mr Little said the project offered numerous tourism and economic opportunities for local and external business operators who had the potential to offer their products and services to people who take part in these activities.

Railbike Adventures managing director Geoff Main said the timing of both the rail-bike venture and Rocket Lab’s successful launch represented a “perfect aligning of the stars” for Wairoa.

“There are so many positive aspects to the activities of Rocket Lab and Railbike Adventures that will bring both national and international recognition along with prosperity to the Wairoa region,” Mr Main said.

“Both ventures are innovative leaders in their respective fields and to that end are guaranteed an enthusiastic interest from many thousands of people per annum. These people represent thousands of visitor nights to Wairoa and surrounds and millions in the associated spending that goes with those visitors.

“The rolling momentum that these ventures generate will fuel many add-on experiences for local operators to capture, an aspect of our activity that we have been extremely excited about from our outset.”

Mr Main said Railbike Adventures began its quest to bring its “world first” tourism venture to fruition on the Napier to Gisborne rail line in June 2010 before it was awarded the right to use the Wairoa to Gisborne section in March.


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Disapointed ex-bred Gisbornite now living and working in Wairoa - 6 months ago
Interesting inaccuracies in this story. The rail bike from everything that I have heard is to be based on Wairoa, not Gisborne. Also the terms were trademarked about a year ago, not the week after the launches.
Wairoa District Council has been working hard and alongside many local organisations to enhance the experience that space tourism will offer to the region. Gisborne is a part of this through the Matariki (Regional Economic Development) Group but please remember that Mahia is part of Wairoa District, not Gisborne.

Footnote from ed: Geoff Main of Gisborne Railbike Adventures has always planned to focus on marketing this tourism venture as Gisborne-centric, with the rides starting in Gisborne.
Wairoa District Council has also shared this story on its Facebook page so doesn't seem to share your concerns.

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