The Maori owners of farmland used by aerospace company Rocket Lab to launch a special satellite that will be seen by all of humanity say they are "chuffed" at their involvement.

Rocket Lab revealed yesterday that it secretly put a special reflective satellite into orbit following the launch of its rocket from Onenui Station at Mahia on Sunday.

The satellite, named The Humanity Star, is the first New Zealand satellite to ever be built and put into space and is expected to become the brightest object in the night sky.

Read more: Astronomer Ian Griffin says Rocket Lab and Peter Beck have 'vandalised the night' with satellite
Blast off! Rocket Lab successfully reaches orbit on second attempt


The company's launch facility is located at Onenui Station, which is owned by the Tawapata South Incorporation and chairman Ben Mackey said the trust was very happy about its involvement.

"We're quite chuffed about the whole damn thing here. We were actually pre-warned about the satellite and they showed it to us at the assembly facility there in Mahia. So, we're really chuffed."

Trust spokesman George Mackey said the whole country was in awe with Sunday's launch.

"We have a really positive, working relationship with Rocket Lab. I think what having Rocket Lab on the farm does, is it opens up a whole world of huge opportunities, and ones that we probably would not have considered a year or two ago.

"So I suppose it's really up to us to determine which ones best fit with the way we do business, and then look at how we take advantage of those."

A Rocket Lab spokeswoman told Hawke's Bay Today that the structure and panelling for The Humanity Star was manufactured at Rocket Lab's facility in Auckland, and then integrated with the Electron rocket at Mahia.

"So Hawke's Bay was the last piece of Earth reflected from its panels before it was released out in the blackness of space.

"For now we're eager to see how this Humanity Star performs and we're eager for Hawke's Bay locals to participate in the search for Humanity Star in the night sky.

"While we know where The Humanity Star will be at any moment in time, we don't know exactly how bright it will be, or how long that brightness will last. We would love for some citizen scientists to help record this data and share it on social media using the hashtag #HumanityStar."


People can track the Humanity Star's progress on

The Humanity Star will reflect the sun's light back to earth.

The payload was required to follow regulatory approval processes, just like any other space payload.

"The Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment assessed The Humanity Star's compliance with New Zealand's international obligations, national security risk and other relevant contractual and legal requirements, such as customs, resource consents or radio spectrum licences.

"The payload was also reviewed by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as part of its safety assessment of the Electron vehicle launch. This assessment provided assurance of the safe operation of the Humanity Star payload."

The Humanity Star should be visible in the night sky from anywhere on Earth at dawn or dusk as it passes overhead.