Rocket Lab founder and chief executive Peter Beck says a shortage of venture capital in New Zealand and pressure to stay in this country is putting the brakes on innovation for other companies.

His 12-year-old company has raised the bulk of about $200 million in the United States to fund development of its Electron rocket programme. In New Zealand it did get funding from Sir Stephen Tindall's investment firm K1W1 and Callaghan Innovation.

Beck said the amount from taxpayer-funded Callaghan would be less than $10m. While Rocket Lab had its corporate headquarters in the United States where it was registered, and was doing more manufacturing there, two-thirds of its staff of 250 were based in this country.

The company is advertising more than 50 roles, ranging from highly-specialised space scientists and engineers to human relations, a spray painter and range of support personnel in Mahia.

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''For a very small [taxpayer] investment we've created a great industry and a whole lot of jobs. And as for running offshore you can't do this kind of thing as a New Zealand company,'' he said.

''Instead of lamenting the fact we lost another one we should be celebrating the fact it went global. We have to understand that you can reach a certain size in New Zealand then you have to become a global company.''

United States venture capital firms Data Collective, Promus Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners and Khosla Ventures have invested in Rocket Lab.

''You tell me where you can go and raise $200 million in New Zealand for a space company - you just can't,'' Beck said.

Rocket Lab founder Peter Beck says a shortage of venture capital in New Zealand and pressure to stay in this country is putting the brakes on innovation for other companies. Picture / Michael Craig
Rocket Lab founder Peter Beck says a shortage of venture capital in New Zealand and pressure to stay in this country is putting the brakes on innovation for other companies. Picture / Michael Craig

''I have seen such a poor show of venture capital in New Zealand - that has quite frankly destroyed a number of potentially good New Zealand companies [and] trying to keep them in New Zealand has destroyed them.''

It was not just about the money.

''It's about the networks and investors you bring on - with Rocket Lab it's a powerhouse group of folks who have the ability to really scale the company with knowledge and contacts you can't get in New Zealand.''

Rocket Lab's window for its first fully-commercial launch has been put off after a controller on one of the Electron rocket's engines was found to be acting strangely during a trial.

Rocket Lab's second launch at Mahia Peninsula in January. Photo / Supplied
Rocket Lab's second launch at Mahia Peninsula in January. Photo / Supplied

The next Electron launch will transport two satellites owned by Spire Global and one for GeoOptics - companies that gather weather and climate information.

Electron blasted off in May 2017 - when it reached space but not orbit - and in January when it successfully deployed equipment into orbit.

Callaghan Innovation said it could not release details of the financial support for Rocket Lab because it was commercially sensitive.

"From its days as a resident startup at Callaghan Innovation's Parnell research site, we have always recognised the unique opportunity Rocket Lab presents,'' said chief executive Vic Crone.