Wairoa's basking in its new-found rocket fame.

And so it should.

The rocket industry entered northern Hawke's Bay folklore with the opening of Rocket Lab's private orbital launch site on Tuesday. No one needs reminding this facility is a world first, not to mention world class.

Accordingly, as a colleague quipped yesterday, it's a "boom" for the Wairoa district.


While the boost to local businesses contributing to the scheme so far is significant, the tourism component is what holds the most excitement, if not the most potential.

Reportedly "rocket tourism" is a huge industry in and of itself in the United States, with groupies travelling far and wide to witness liftoff.

For all intents and purposes this is a marketer's dream. It's part galactic, part sci-fi, part Cape Canaveral - T-minus 10 seconds with a pina colada in hand on Mahia Beach.

At this stage that's a way off. There's no date yet for commercial liftoff, though the company hopes to get three test launches done by the year's end.

Attending the launch, George Mackey from Tawapata South Maori Incorporation (the owners of Onenui Station) supplied the line of the day, when he explained he had always considered diversifying, "but we were probably thinking more bees and honey, rather than rockets".

The district must now ensure it can accommodate the imminent tourist demand. But for now, Wairoa should be congratulated for wooing an interstellar business to its peninsula.