23 Nov 2015

Rocket Lab to move launch site to North Island

3:30 pm on 23 November 2015

A company planning to launch satellite-carrying space rockets is moving its launch base from Kaitorete Spit in Canterbury to the Mahia Peninsula, south of Gisborne.

Rocket Lab chief executive Peter Beck.

Rocket Lab chief executive Peter Beck Photo: Rocket Lab

Auckland-based Rocket Lab said its decision was partly due to the time it was taking to get the necessary resource consent from Christchurch City Council.

When the company announced the Canterbury site, it said it was also considering moving its rocket manufacturing operation to Christchurch - creating up to 200 jobs.

It has now decided on a location on the Mahia Peninsula, for which it already has the necessary consents, as the site where it aims to launch rockets from 2017.

Rocket Lab founder Peter Beck said, because Mahia Peninsula was more remote than Kaitorete Spit, more launches could be made from there.

"A resource consent process is a resource consent process, and it takes however long it takes," he said.

"We're continuing to work through that process down there, but the Mahia site was an accelerated and simpler site to gain resource consent for."

Mr Beck said launching from Mahia Peninsula made it more likely its rockets would be manufactured in Auckland, rather than Christchurch.