Open daily, 10am–5pm, Free

419 Great King Street Dunedin, New Zealand

Media Release: Astronaut lands in Bluff

17 October 2022

In what is thought to be a first, on Monday 31 October, an astronaut will be touching down in Bluff

NASA astronaut, Dr Shannon Walker, will be travelling to Aotearoa New Zealand to launch the national roadshow ofTūhura Otago Museum’s new science showcaseTūhura Tuarangi  Aotearoa in Space at Te Rau Aroha Marae in Bluff. Dr Walker will spend time in Bluff and Invercargill, before undertaking a whirlwind tour involving communitytalks and school engagements in Queenstown, Wanaka, Ranfurly and Dunedin.

Dr Walker has been on several NASA space missionsas the commander for a 167-day expedition on the International Space Station, and as a Mission Specialist with SpaceX Crew-1 on their Dragon spacecraft.

“I am so thrilled Dr Walker will be here!”, said Dr Andrew Mills of Tūhura Otago Museum who led the development of the roadshow. “Tūhura Tuarangi is all about encouraging Kiwi kids to be inspired by the Universe around us, learning how cool science and technology can be, and realising a career in space right here in Aotearoa New Zealand is entirely possible. There is nothing more inspiring than having an astronaut, who has been-there-and-done-that, speak in person to your school or community – it is just so great”

Dr Walker will attend a pōwhiri at Te Rau Aroha Marae, Bluffat 11am on 31 October, before opening the showcase to locals. That afternoon she will tour the nearby Awarua Satellite Ground Station with high school students and then give a public talk at 5:30pm at James Hargest College.

Tūhura Tuarangi showcases Aotearoa New Zealand’s space technologies and world-leading research, and shines a light on the huge range of space-related career prospects that are unfolding across the country. The roadshow includes many hands-on science interactives including a 4-billion-year-old meteorite, virtual reality space tours, as well as interactives where children can build a satellite, launch a rocket, and even generate their own clean, green fuel that might be the future of space travel. 

After opening in Bluff, the showcase will go on a roadshow to schools, marae, and community centres across the motu until the end of 2023.

Dr Walker said she was excited to be coming to share her experiences with students and the community. Dr Walker will also be travelling throughout OtagoShe is scheduled to give public talks on Tuesday 1 November at the Queenstown Memorial Hall at 12 noon followed by the Lake WānakaCentre at 5:30pm, before spending Wednesday 2 November with rural schools in Central Otago, and giving a public talk at the Maniototo Area School in Ranfurly at 2pmTūhura Otago Museum will host her final day on Thursday 3 November, with sessions for local schools during the day and a final public talk at 5:30pm that evening. 

Between Dr Walker’s appearances and the Tūhura Tuarangishowcase itself, we hope that the public will be inspired by the possibilities that space-related endeavours offer and understand that success in space is ultimately underpinned by partnerships and collaborations that span nations, genders, and ethnicities. We want every Kiwi kid to reach for the stars, knowing they too can have a future in space.”, said Dr Mills.  


For more information contact, 

Kate Oktay, Tūhura Otago Museum, Marketing Manager

[email protected] | 020 4197 1907