Libraries  |  21 Mar 2024

Christchurch based Kea Aerospace are a local company designing and flying a large, solar-powered, unmanned aircraft for earth observations.

All while having utilised the state-of-the-art laser cutting and printing equipment at Christchurch’s central library during their prototyping stage.

Kea Aerospace Chief Technology Officer, Philipp Sueltrop, says the parts for the first prototype as part of the 2019 New Zealand Aerospace Challenge were designed and built with the help of Tūranga’s laser cutter.

“We really needed a laser cutter machine, which is something a startup doesn’t usually have at the beginning,” says Philipp.

“For us, the value was coming into the library and being able to use the resources to trial and error so effectively – and in the end, this contributed towards our decision to choose the same laser cutter company to install our machine down the line.”

Kea Aerospace utilising the laser cutters at Tūranga.

Tūranga’s Creative Spaces, known as Auahatanga space, offers creative services including laser cutting, 3D printing, sewing, overlocker and embroidery machines, and garment printing.

Philipp says over time he was able to build a relationship with the Creative Spaces library staff who were very supportive.

“When you’re in the beginning of using new equipment, it’s a huge help to have people around that are knowledgeable and keen to help,” Philipp says.

“The library has all that equipment and also the support - the software is very easy to use and even easier with staff induction.”

Christchurch City Council Head of Libraries and Information Carolyn Robertson says the range of resources across the libraries network provides value to the whole community.

“These projects really do show next level technology and a potential economic impact of the opportunities Christchurch City Libraries are providing in Ōtautahi,” Ms Robertson says.

“Our creative and learning spaces are welcome to everyone, and we have some amazing technology around to support prototyping and business ideas, all while creating a space where people can learn.”

Find more information about the Auahatanga creative spaces and services here.