International engagement

Our international engagement programme includes visits to, and discussions with other national space agencies, potential investors and entrepreneurs and other government regulators.

Artemis Accords

New Zealand has joined an international arrangement to co-operate with NASA on peaceful exploration and activity in outer space.

The Artemis Accords set principles

  • around the peaceful exploration of space, transparency, inter-operability, release of scientific data, safe and sustainable use of resources, safe disposal of debris, and prevention of harmful interference in other’s activities, amongst other principles.
  • to guide space exploration cooperation, in particular in support of NASA’s Artemis program to return humans to the Moon in 2024, and explore Mars and beyond. The Accords align with New Zealand’s fundamental principles of peaceful international cooperation.

One issue the Accords deals with is space resource utilisation. The ability to use space resources (the mineral resources in and on the moon and other celestial bodies) is critical to enable the next phase of space exploration, including to the possibility of sending humans to Mars. Recent technological advances have made space resource utilisation feasible which has increased states interest in addressing it in national policy and regulation. Given the increasing importance of this issue, space resource utilisation needed to be considered alongside our membership in the Accords.

More information on the Artemis Accords and New Zealand’s position on Space Resource Utilisation is available below:

Artemis Accords(external link) — NASA

U.S. – New Zealand Space Dialogue

In 2024 we took part in a bilateral Space Dialogue with the United States Government. Representatives from both governments discussed how we can strengthen our existing bilateral space cooperation.

A joint statement on the U.S. - New Zealand Space Dialogue(external link) — United States Department of State

Space forums

We’ve joined international space forums such as the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS).

UN space treaties

New Zealand is already a party to 4 United Nations space treaties:

  • The Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (the Outer Space Treaty), which was ratified by New Zealand in 1968.
  • The Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts, the Return of Astronauts and the Return of Objects Launched into Outer Space (the Rescue Agreement), which was ratified by New Zealand in 1969.
  • The Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects (the Liability Convention), which was ratified by New Zealand in 1974.
  • The Convention on Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space (the Registration Convention), which New Zealand acceded to in 2018.

The documents below provide more information on these treaties.

Bilateral and technology safeguards agreements

We have bilateral agreements with the United States Government and with the European Space Agency.

The European Space Agency/New Zealand Arrangement [PDF, 138 KB]

We’ve signed a bilateral agreement with the United States (US) Government for space launches using US technology in New Zealand, called the Technology Safeguards Agreement (TSA). This agreement enables commercial entities in New Zealand to import rocket launch technology and satellites from the US.

The Technology Safeguards Agreement (TSA) [PDF, 118 KB]

Under the agreement, New Zealand agencies preserve their full existing powers and functions, such as border control, health and safety, and accident investigation, by way of a Side Arrangement.

The Technology Safeguards Agreement Side Arrangement [PDF, 100 KB] 

The TSA adds another strand to our close and long-standing relationship with the US, and opens the door for US space businesses to consider New Zealand as a business location.

Last updated: 29 April 2024