Stuart PriorSitting in the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs (NZIIA) Arctic and Antarctic symposium today, I was taken by Stuart Prior’s idea of what  New Zealand’s space programme should be. What practical measures can New Zealand take to add to the global public good? I think New Zealand has a lot more to offer with an ocean programme than a space programme. Here is what Stuart had to say:

Weta Workshop and Weta Digital …  could fulfil the roles of Jules Verne and Jacques Cousteau in bringing our own inner space – the Southern Ocean – alive. 

Science coupled with story-telling can give us one crucial missing link: personality.

Today’s available technologies give us the opportunity to create a genuine, authentic picture of animals (including human animals) and their ecosystemic roles and interactions in the polar regions.

 If we could see and understand the life cycles and roles of whales and seals and toothfish and black corals – debates about whether or not to create a Ross Sea Region marine protected reserve would become hugely easier. Indeed, it would be an international ‘no brainer’. 

He also stated:

We have, as never before, new opportunities to bring the wider world middle classes into the know, into the science, and into the debate about the future of the polar regions and, thereby, the future of mankind. The study of the polar regions and of the oceans is accessible ‘space programme’ for New Zealand and for other countries – there is an immediate opportunity and an immediate need.

Stuart will be joining us at the the launch of the Institute’s report on oceans management on 26 March, which forms part of Project One Ocean. If you would like to attend the launch, please see the flyer here (along with more information about Project One Ocean) and RSVP by 23 March to