Rocket Lab has created a piece of New Zealand space history with the first successful test launch of an electron rocket off the Mahia Peninsula at about 4.24pm today.

The previous three attempts have been "scrubbed" - with yesterday's launch called off just 12 minutes before the scheduled launch.

A crowd of spectators had waited eagerly at a beach near Nuhaka all afternoon for the rocket to blast off- and with poor weather conditions, and failing light, hopes were fading.

Cheers erupted as a bright light flashed up above Mahia Peninsula, rising slowly into the sky with a cloud of smoke below it.

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The small group assembled at the site said they felt privileged to have witnessed the first Rocket launch from New Zealand.

Wellington's Doug Brennan had been at the site ever day, waiting for the rocket- which his son Sean helped build - to lift off.

He said he was happy to have finally seen it, and very proud of his son for helping to achieve it.

Rocket Lab tweeted just after blast off, saying it had been a success.