A former Nasa engineer has given up half of his salary to teach Kiwi kids.

Rob Fuller, 50, is a trainee teacher in Christchurch, and told Newstalk ZB's Larry Williams that he wanted to put the skills he had developed to the test in education.

"I worked for Nasa during my uni days studying my computer engineering degree [and] I joined the air force before that.

"I had a really fulfilling career for quite a while, then moved into IT, some big companies and some interesting small companies. But I guess over time I started to enjoy other skills I was developing like public speaking and training and leadership, so I guess my heart was just pulled in that direction to use those skills."

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Fuller worked with Nasa in Florida, working on "hardware and software" projects at the space centre.

He said he was drawn to New Zealand by its "great qualities".

"We were kind of watching how things were progressing in America and New Zealand just has a lot of great qualities, and eventually we found New Zealand would be a better fit for us and our values."

He will be teaching in the science, technology, engineering and maths subjects.

"I guess as my career's progressed I've had a strong desire to do something more meaningful and have a lasting impact. I thought 'Let me take a shot at helping to create successful young adults'," Fuller said.

"I won't have any ambitious goals to change the system at all, I'm just hoping to impact individual students [and] inspire them to do their best, become life-long learners and potentially follow a similar path [to me]."

As for giving up his lucrative salary, Fuller said he "had to get to a place in life where I could afford to do this".