1 Nov 2011

Te Arawa descendant aims to be first Maori in space

8:25 pm on 1 November 2011

A descendant of a Te Arawa iwi who is working as an aerospace engineer in Houston Texas wants to be the first Maori to venture into space.

Mana Vautier of Tuhourangi in Rotorua wants to achieve the goal in the next 14 years. He

currently works at Odyssey Space Research in the United States.

He says he moved to the United States in 2002 to pursue a passion for astronomy.

He studied a Bachelor of Science in Physics and Astronomy and then a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering.

He says that even though the original space shuttle programme has ended, and the Constellation Programme has been dropped, he is hoping a replacement plan will come.

Mr Vautier says he's now 31 years old, and many astronauts are selected to go to space when they're in their mid-30s to early 40s.