Monday 9th January 2023 – By Tia Lush

The second day of our SWTxNASA Tour saw sunshine and good weather over beautiful Taupō. Our friends at Taupō library had been briefed and had already been hard at work setting up their Children’s area and turning it into a presentation area fit enough for a NASA Astronaut by the time Tia arrived. After a quick technical check and setting up of some signage, we were ready!

Ticket holders started gathering in anticipation of the event and excited families were checked into the space with lots of young space fans securing their spot on the carpet at the front. We didn’t have to wait long as the guest of honour arrived with Rachael having just travelled up from Palmerston North.

Deputy Mayor Kevin Taylor formally welcomed NASA Kate to Taupō and noted that it was wonderful that Taupō had been picked as a stop on this exciting tour. Kate started her presentation and almost immediately we had lots of curious questions coming from our younger audience. The captivated audience of young tamariki and many adults got to hear about Kate’s inspirational story from childhood through to being chosen by NASA to join their Astronaut programme and her current work preparing the way for further space exploration and to put people on the moon.

Before we knew it, the presentation was over and it was time for a quick meet and greet with a photo opportunity with the star herself. The team sprang into action and everyone who wanted a photo got a chance to meet Kate before she had to be whisked off to her next stop on the Tour.

We’d like to thank the Taupō library team who got everything set up and ready for us and for taking all the hard work out of planning for an event like this. We’d also like to thank everyone who came and brought their curiosity and left with big smiles and a new love for space and STEM. We look forward to seeing you all at the next STEM Wana event.

Photography: Tia Lush (Please credit STEM Wana Trust/STEMFest)