9 Nov 2011

US aerospace engineer hopes to encourage young Maori

8:17 pm on 9 November 2011

A United States aerospace engineer, who's from Rotorua, says once he returns home he wants to help young Maori realise they can achieve anything they want to.

Mana Vautier of Tuhourangi iwi currently works at Odyssey Space Research in Houston, Texas.

He's been in the US since 2002, and aims to become the first Maori astronaut.

Mr Vautier says even though the original space shuttle programme has ended, and the Constellation Programme has been dropped, he'll sign up to a replacement programme, which he's sure will come.

He says he hasn't achieved enough yet to become a role model, but he says once he does, he hopes to share those experiences with young Maori.

Mr Vautier says he hopes his career can prove young Maori can do anything if they want it and work towards their dreams.